Parent says Te Awamutu College students living in fear as videos of violent fights circulate online

Parent says Te Awamutu College students living in fear as videos of violent fights circulate online
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A parent of a child at Te Awamutu College says students are living in fear as videos of violent fights circulate online. 

The parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said the videos are very distressing for students and caregivers. 

"It's extremely concerning," they said. "I believe the fights are fairly regular and they're targeted so they can get likes online."

They said students are being bullied online and fights are being filmed and put on social media. 

The parent said students are too scared to use the bathroom during the day for fear of who they might come across. 

Newshub was sent two different videos which show violent fights between students. In the first one, a group of students can be seen watching while another student pins a kid up against a wall before repeatedly punching them.

The student then begins kicking them while they try to back away and then punches them repeatedly in the ribs. An adult can then be heard yelling, "Oi, oi" before walking over and asking, "what are you doing?". 

The second video shows two students walking up to another and harassing them before one grabs them in a chokehold and punches them repeatedly in the head. The pair struggle for several seconds before the video cuts off. 

Another parent said the fights got so severe police were called on Monday. But Te Awamutu principal Tony Membery told Newshub that's not the case. 

"Duty staff were dealing with an incident on Monday morning interval involving an altercation between two students," Membery said. 

"Coincidentally a police car was passing by the school on an adjacent street. The two officers have come on site as a result of sighting the incident. They were NOT called by the school and the incident would ordinarily NOT have required their presence."

He said an officer briefly pursued a student who chose to run away but the student wasn't taken off-site. 

"Senior Management are dealing with the matter after gaining statements, informing parents etc and appropriate disciplinary action is being taken." 

Membery said senior management has dealt with "a handful of altercations this term"

He said appropriate disciplinary action, counselling and restorative meetings have been put in place. 

"We continue to send a clear message that students should not sort out their differences or disagreements through physical means. They should tell someone about what is going on, for example, Form Teacher, Dean, Guidance Counsellor, so that we can support them proactively.

"Our clear and consistent messages around physical  or verbal assaults, bullying and harassment are reiterated through assemblies, posters and newsletters."

Police told Newshub they were conducting routine duties when they drove past the school on Monday. 

They said the matter is being resolved by the school.