Teacher 'punched in head' in front of students outside Rotorua Intermediate School

Rotorua Intermediate School
Rotorua Intermediate School Photo credit: Google Maps

A staff member at Rotorua Intermediate School was allegedly punched in the head in front of over 100 students during pick-up time on Wednesday.

Alasdair Hay, a science teacher, was attempting to direct traffic outside the school gates when one driver and passenger reacted violently to his instructions.

After the driver had verbally abused Mr Hay, a male passenger in the car is said to have ran across the street and punched him in the head, knocking him to the ground.

The school's principal, Garry de Thierry, told Newshub the incident occurred in plain sight amongst approximately 150 students and 20 to 30 adults.

Mr Hay has since been given time off work while "currently suffering headaches and is required to use crutches".

"After discussions with him today, I believe he is still in shock as a result of the assault," Mr de Thierry said.

He also says the school's current information indicates the men involved were relatives of a child at the school.

A post on the school's Facebook page recounts the violent event that occurred after the driver refused to follow Mr Hay's instructions to not turn right onto the main road outside the school..

"Immediately Mr Hay received extensive verbal abuse from the driver. After this exchange, the driver then turned right onto Malfroy.

"The driver suddenly stopped, halting all traffic, then a male passenger from the car ran across the road at Mr Hay and punched him on the side of the head.

"The punch was hard enough to knock Mr Hay to the ground. The passenger then returned to the car, which was still blocking the cars on Malfroy Road, and then drove off."

Mr de Thierry said Rotorua Police are currently investigating the incident, and is calling for witnesses to come forward with any information that may help.

The school is also offering a counselling service for students who witnessed the assault.

Meanwhile, parents of children at the school and members of the public have posted their support for Mr Hay and the school on their Facebook page.

"Sad news indeed. This dear man has given his heart and soul to teach our tamariki many, many years. When respect for not only other people, but especially those who deserve our respect, goes out the window...where is the hope for a future for our kids at all?!" one user wrote.

Another pointed out that signage at the school exit is very clear regarding traffic flow.

"What the heck! There's a sign asking NOT to turn right. Wow, these people acted like Mr Hay was singling them out, thinking only about themselves and not the kids surrounding the ENTIRE area, ignorance is bliss!"

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz