6 Sep 2011

Violence systemic at Lower Hutt school, report finds

8:11 pm on 6 September 2011

An Ombudsman's report into bullying at a Lower Hutt high school has found that a series of assaults were not isolated incidents but part of a systemic problem of violence.

The incidents at Hutt Valley High School in December 2007 included reports of male pupils being attacked by a group of boys and violated with objects including scissors, a cellphone and a screw driver.

David McGee says the school recognised there was a problem with violence, which extended to some teachers fearing for their own safety.

However, he says the issue was not being addressed satisfactorily, including situations amounting to child abuse not being reported to police or Child, Youth and Family, and students not being disciplined appropriately.

Mr McGee says the Education Review Office should have better followed up factors which should have suggested something was wrong.

He says while Hutt Valley High School initially minimised the seriousness of the incidents, it has since been very proactive in addressing bullying and violence.

His report makes a number of recommendations aimed at helping to avoid similar situations in the future.

They include making it compulsory for all schools to implement an anti-bullying programme.