Claims student attacked teacher with saw in Canterbury taken seriously - school

Mackenzie College, Fairlie.
Mackenzie College, Fairlie. Photo credit: Google Maps

A claim that a technology teacher was attacked by a student is being taken seriously as a significant event, a South Canterbury school says.

A post on social media claimed the teacher at Mackenzie College in Fairlie was assaulted by a student armed with a saw and it nearly left the teacher's arm paralysed.

The post further claimed nothing was being done to stop it happening again.

"It's a sad day when an actual assault can go unpunished in our society," it read.

"[The teacher] was assaulted with a saw by a student at Mackenzie College a few weeks ago. He was simply doing his job trying to help these students move on to bigger and better things, and he was attacked for it. He was 5cm away from being paralysed in the arm.

"I have now heard that the school is doing nothing to stop this happening again and has let the kid ... back into the school community. I am worried not only for the staff but the students at my old school. I love Mackenzie College and it is such a shame to see it fall so far, but now they are trying to hush it up and I will not let that happen."

School principal Jason Reid would not confirm what happened, but said a wide range of support was in place for the teacher and the student involved.

"As I am sure you will understand we are required by legislation to keep anything relating to individuals confidential, including where serious disciplinary action has been taken," Reid said.

"This means that the wider community may only have access to the general procedures around a school's response to such events.

"What we can confirm is that our absolute priority is the health, safety and well-being of those in our school and we would not compromise this. Additionally, it is important to know that we have a vast range of strategies, agencies and support to draw from to achieve the very best outcome for those concerned along with all our students and staff.

"Due to maintaining confidentiality, there is a significant amount of misinformation that cannot be publicly addressed by schools, particularly as social media posts are susceptible to the release of unverified and incorrect information.

"I am very open to answering queries and addressing concerns that our parents may have. Last weekend I contacted all parents providing encouragement to anyone with concerns to make contact with me directly so that these could be addressed appropriately. All subsequent queries have been answered."

Reid would not confirm what action had been taken against the student, but said a wide-ranging disciplinary response had been taken as a result of what he characterised as a "serious significant event".

The student and teacher remained part of the school community, he said.

"At any time all students and staff have access to free and confidential counselling services through the school and external agencies (for students), and through EAP Services (for staff)," Reid said.