It’s been a bad week for school violence in New Zealand.
First there was the stabbing of teacher Steve Hose at Te Puke High School on Monday , followed shortly after by the assault of two teachers at nearby Tauranga Girl’s College.
Now Hamilton Girl’s High School has been placed in lockdown and police called out just after 11am today when a year 11 girl walked into a classroom with a knife, looking for another student and threatening classmates.
According to Belinda Feek in the Waikato Times:
“Ms Baxter (the principal) said a Year 11 student walked into a classroom with a knife just before lunchtime “looking for another student'” and “threatening classmates”.
The incident seemed to be in response to bullying.
“We are not able to tolerate in any way the way she approached the situation,” Ms Baxter told said.
The school was put into lockdown to ensure the safety of all students.
“The school was moving into lunchtime but there may still have been some girls who felt in danger. The purpose of the lockdown was to make sure all the girls felt safe.”
A family member of the girl was on their way to Hamilton Central Police Station to take part in her questioning.”
The incident was talked about on the Trademe message boards with one person saying
“my cousin told me it was an iraqi girl that attacked some fijian indians, nobody was hurt luckily. teacher wasnt even in the classroom at the time”
Another said that she had recently lost a parent. If all this is true it may explain why the girl was being bullied and why she snapped. One has to ask if the school was doing enough to help her.
It may highlight, yet again, the problems immigrants have being accepted into New Zealand society, for background see New Zealand is turning into a really racist country.
For an update to this story see “Racial bullying WAS a factor in Hamilton Girls’ High School knife incident“.
Another thread also mentioned that there was a stabbing at Kapiti College (Raumati Beach, Paraparaumu) two weeks ago that was never publicised to the media
Readers should note that bullying was also said to have been a factor in the stabbing of Mr Hose by a 13 year old boy who “because of his size had been a target for bullying” see “Bullying to blame for Te Puke Teacher Stabbing”
“Kiwis are worst in the world for bullying” according to a report by released by Massey University study in April of this year.
Furthermore it is known within the country that “New Zealand’s schools lead the world in bullying”. A major international study in December 2008 showed that three quarters of primary school children had been bullied during one month.
Auckland paediatrician and former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall said the high rates of bullying reflected a “punitive culture”(source):
“It’s not just children who are bullied; adults bully as well,” Hassall said. “We do have a punitive society that rather believes in punishing people and threatening them, so it’s not surprising that children pick up on this and go punishing one another.”
“anti-bullying, and “character education” programmes were needed in primary and intermediate schools.
“The culture of brutality that we have tolerated for too long has to stop,”
One of the manifestations of that culture of brutality is the escalation of violence in New Zealand’s schools with attacks on both pupils and students.
777 teachers were assaulted at work during 2008-2009.
There were 1167 incidents of violence, including 51 grievous assaults last year across all educational institutions, including 14 of stabbing and cutting with a weapon. (Statistics NZ)