3 Mar 2015

Police respond to schoolgirl fight video

6:01 pm on 3 March 2015

Auckland police are investigating after a video which appears to show a fight between school students was viewed more than 85,000 times on Facebook.

The woman who posted the video claims her daughter was being attacked by another girl who was made to fight by her parents. The video has been shared more than 1500 times since it was posted at the weekend.

In the video, a girl is punched in the face and can then be heard wailing and screaming in front of a number of bystanders. At one stage, some people intervene.

The mother said in the Facebook comments that her daughter was just hanging out with friends in Henderson when it happened.

The posting attracted a significant number of comments.

"I watched this last night from someone who had shared it and to see your daughter have had this happen to her it just sickened me, some role model of parents that kid has!" said one user.

Another said: "I seen the video n it breaks my heart for ur daughter.. I pray she is alright.... the parents actions it's a damn shame.. to encourage there girl to fight ur daughter when she tried to walk away.. what kind of parenting is that?"

The mother makes mention of a West Auckland school in her online comments, but that school said in a statement that the students do not go there.

"The school has been contacted by members of the community and representatives from the media about a clip on Facebook.

"We have viewed the clip and confirm that these are not [the school's] students.

"We have asked the persons responsible for the clip, to remove the clip, or clarify that these are not [the school's] students," it said.

The school adds that it does not condone violence of any kind under any circumstances.

Police respond

The police have since expanded on their investigation into the incident.

Waitakere Area Commander Inspector Scott Webb said it's thought the fight happened on Saturday.

"Police were made aware of it on the same day and investigations have been underway since.

"The matter involves people under the age of 17 and we are therefore limited as to what we can say publicly, however we can advise that allegations of the involvement of any adults will also form part of our enquiry," he said.

Developmental psychologist: fight is 'alarming'

A developmental psychologist and bullying researcher said it would be alarming if claims a girl's parents made her fight another girl are true.

Vanessa Green from Victoria University specialises in children's social and emotional development.

"I guess given some of the [online] comments I would say there's been some history between these two individuals.

"One of the things that's quite alarming is that if there are parents involved in this, it really is demonstrating there's an inter-generational nature of bullying being exposed here," she said.

Professor Green said it was giving a negative message to children about how to resolve conflict.

She said it was also concerning to see bystanders in the video not acting sooner.

"I think that's where these things can escalate and get quite obviously out of control, that's one of the things that was quite alarming.

"We had a situation where quite a few people were watching and didn't step in. It could've been reduced considerably if someone actually stepped in before the first punch was thrown," Professor Green said.

"It's quite sad to think there are so many children out there and young people where an incident happens like that and people are standing by and watching or even encouraging it to continue."