By 3 News online staff
A police investigation into allegations of a sexual nature involving Opotiki College students is underway in the Bay of Plenty.
Detective Inspector Mark Loper says the investigation is in its initial stages, but there is no indication any of the alleged offending has occurred at the school or involves school staff.
A police spokesperson was unable to confirm whether all the alleged victims attended the school, how many complaints had been received or what kind of allegations had been made.
TV3's Story has been investigating the allegations, which are reported to involve senior boys about 17 or 18 years old, and junior girls about 13 or 14 years old.
Police told Story the investigation is on a smaller scale than 2013's Roastbusters investigation in west Auckland. They confirmed the allegations involved a small online element.
Affected students, their families and the school are being supported by police.
"Our priority is the wellbeing of the young people who have provided information, and their families, and providing them with the appropriate ongoing assistance," says Det Insp Loper.
He added police are taking the matter seriously and asked members of the community to be patient while police work through the "challenging" process.
"We need to work carefully and methodically, and ask that the community have patience while that occurs.
Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey confirmed the ministry was working with the school.
"Allegations of this type are very concerning and will affect the school and the wider community," she said.
"We are supporting its leadership team to minimise disruption to school life and help restore day-to-day routines.
"This support will be available as long as it's needed."
Ms Casey said she was unable to comment further while the investigation continues.
Anyone with information on the matter is encouraged to contact police on (07) 348 0099 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.