Topic: Education

When high school bullying becomes assault

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

The family of a fifteen-year-old student who was punched repeatedly in a video posted on social media says enough is enough and have laid a formal complaint with police.  

The family says they want the alleged high school bully charged with assault. 

The victim's cousin, Maryanne Peka says, "Bullying is not ok.  Second of all, how would you feel if this was your daughter, your sister, cousin, your family?"

The family didn't see the images before they went to the police.  Now, they can't even bring themselves to watch it.  The video has since been taken down but not before it was viewed by 20,000 people.

The Principal of Kia Aroha College, Hayley Milne has been in constant contact with the victim and her whānau. 

In a statement to Te Kāea, Milne said the bully was severely disciplined by the school immediately after the incident.

Disciplinary action was also taken against the young people who recorded the video.   

There is an extensive list of bullying legislation and guidelines that schools and boards of trustees must be aware of.

Sister of the victim, Kristine Samuels says, "Yeah, the schools should do something about it but in all honesty, it's your kids and if you wanna keep your kids safe it's up to you.

"But it's standing up for your children. If you don't want to stand up for your children then leave it to the school."

The OECD's latest survey found that fifteen-year-olds in New Zealand have the second highest rate of bullying out of 51 countries.

Samuels says, "For [the victim], she's always going to look over her shoulder, there's no doubt about it.  She's not gonna feel safe until she's dealt with it but she loves school too much to stop going to school."

The family hopes the case will raise awareness about the severity of bullying in New Zealand schools.