By JO McKENZIE-McLEAN – The Press, 3 September 2009
“An attack on a Thai girl, who was beaten up by fellow pupils on a bus, is part of everyday “race hate” in Christchurch, a homestay parent says.
Paul Stratford said the Avonside Girls’ High School pupil arrived at his house distressed and covered in blood after being beaten up on the bus after school on Monday.
In the latest assault, the year 13 pupil was beaten by two younger girls in Avonside uniforms as she left the bus. She had never spoken to the pair, Stratford said.
Stratford said the bus driver reported the incident to the school, which notified the police.
Avonside principal Theresa Shaughnessy last night confirmed there was an incident involving three pupils, but there were “no racial overtones”.
She said the incident was being dealt with “very seriously” and declined to comment further.
One had had a tooth knocked out when he was punched in the face in June at The Palms Shopping Centre, Stratford said.
The attacks had left the pupils feeling vulnerable and too scared to leave the house by themselves, he said.
Stratford, a New Zealander married to a Thai woman, with whom he has two young children, said his wife was regularly the victim of racial abuse.
Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said race-hate crimes were a problem not just in Christchurch but around the country and were occurring more often than was reported to police.
“It’s becoming more and more urgent for police to gather data of racial abuse,” he said. “The Government does agree but has said it’s not a priority.”
People needed to report their experience and schools needed a culture of tolerance and respect, he said.”
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