School excludes three students after assault

The attack took placed in a school toilet last week. Photo: ODT files
The attack took placed in a school toilet last week. Photo: ODT files
Three students involved in a serious assault at a South Island high school last week have been permanently excluded.

Otago Boys’ High School acting rector Andrew King said in a statement the three students involved in an assault of another student had been permanently excluded after a disciplinary process involving the school board.

The assault, which happened in a school toilet on Wednesday, June 15, was filmed and circulated on social media.

Two students aimed numerous punches at the jaw of a pupil who told them, "I don’t wanna fight", while another pupil filmed the incident.

A parent of a year 13 student at the school said she was "quite horrified" that the school had not notified caregivers that the video of the assault was circulating.

She first heard about the video after the Otago Daily Times published an article about it yesterday, but her son had seen the video when it was circulating last week, she said.

She described the incident as a "prolonged violent assault".

News of the assault took her by surprise as she was not aware of any similar incidents at the school in the past, she said.

Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond, of Dunedin, said police inquiries were ongoing.

One person had been spoken to and others would also be spoken to, he said.

King said that the school was assisting the police inquiry into the incident and was investigating how to identify those who had shared the video.

It was also working with Netsafe to remove the video from social media and restrict further harm caused by its distribution.

Students were aware of the school’s zero tolerance for unacceptable behaviour in the school environment and its policies on bullying and digital safety, King said.

Earlier in the year the school banned cellphones during the day.

Phones had to remain switched off and students were aware there would be "immediate consequences" if they were caught using their phones.

The incident highlighted the need for strict regulations relating to the use of digital devices and the school would continue to respond with all its authority to protect the emotional and physical safety of students, King said.

In the past year, the school had increased its counselling staff, instigated an improved rostering system to enable more staff to be circulating around the school and introduced an online anonymous reporting system.

The student who was assaulted had returned to school and was being supported by counsellors and other pupils, King said.

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