Racial Sensitivity May Have Caused Classroom Stabbing

Despite allegations that are students were told not to speak to the media on threat of expulsion further details are leaking out about the shocking classroom stabbing yesterday of teacher David Warren at Avondale College. A 17 year old student at the college Tae Won Chung appeared in court today and was denied bail.

This from the NZ Herald
by Beck Vass

“Joke about South Korea”

“…Students told the Herald Mr Warren’s attacker was a Korean national who principal Brent Lewis said had been at the school “three or four weeks”. [note: the student was at the school for the whole of 2008, see below]

One student, who did not want to be named under threat of expulsion, said an incident had taken place at the school on Monday.

“Yesterday, some kids in that class said [the teacher] must’ve said a joke about South Korea – and that guy’s from South Korea.”

The 20-student class were studying NCEA level two and three Japanese.

Mr Warren was stabbed just below his right shoulder while writing on a whiteboard, standing with his back to the class.

A student who had been waiting to see the nurse said a teacher and another pupil had burst in, shouting that a teacher had been stabbed.

“We were in the nurse’s room and one of the students in the class and a teacher came in shouting for the nurse to come, someone’s been stabbed – they said he was on the floor.

“The nurse left and the bells went off.”

Police and ambulance services arrived shortly after, and Mr Warren was taken to Auckland Hospital in a serious condition.

Mr Lewis said he knew nothing of claims that a racial remark had triggered the attack.”

Incident the previous day

“However, one teacher said staff were told that “an incident” had occurred between Mr Warren and his alleged attacker in class on Monday.

Students gave different assessments of Mr Warren’s teaching style.

One told TV3’s Campbell Live Mr Warren, 49, was “all right”.

“He would pick on [me] – because I’m Japanese myself – he picked on Japanese people because he expected us to know Japanese.””

Teacher’s “usual comments” offended students

“Another told the Herald some of Mr Warren’s “usual” comments had the potential to offend.

“If we’re running in the hall, he’ll say: ‘You, the big Islander one over there, get over here’.”

Parents arrived early to collect students who witnessed the attack. Many of the teens had their faces covered with jerseys.

Mr Warren was still in Auckland hospital when the Herald visited his Waterview home last night.

His flatmate, who asked not to be named, said Mr Warren was a “very kind man” who is very fit and often rode his bicycle to school.”

Student’s parents are on the way to NZ

The Herald reported at 12.35pm today that the parents of the student arrested for the stabbing are on their way to New Zealand from Korea. It also stated that the student was neither new to the school nor New Zealand.

by Vaimoana Tapaleao, Beck Vass and Edward Gay

“At the court this morning, Korean consulate staff member Jun Lee said the schoolboy’s family were on their way to New Zealand from South Korea.

Mr Lee said he was in court this morning to provide support for the homestay family,

One member of the family told nzherald.co.nz that the accused schoolboy had been in New Zealand for two years and at Avondale College all of 2008.

She said he was also in Mr Warren’s class last year. Avondale College yesterday said the student had been at the school just three or four weeks.

Court has been adjourned and the accused has yet to appear.”

Additional information:

  • Identity politics behind school stabbing?: Link
  • Online (Soompi) community comments on racism in NZ schools: Link
  • Reader comments Korea Post.co.nz (Korean) : Link
  • Racist remarks drove student to react: Link
  • Chosun.com coverage (Korean): Link
  • Bullying in NZ’s Schools: Link
  • More On Violence in New Zealand Schools: Link
  • Racist reporting of the event in the media: Link
  • Teachers at school gates telling students not to talk to the media:Link
  • Levels of risk for NZ teachers gets higher every day: Link
  • Suburb going down the tubes: Link
  • 37,500 schoolchildren have severe forms of destructive & challenging behaviour. Link