Friday, March 6, 2009

This blog was closed

A decision has been made to re-open this blog but Luthien's involvement with this blog has ended.

Other contributors will be adding fresh material shortly.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Zealand Scores Second Worse in World for Bullying in Schools

December 2008

NZ Schools Lead World in bullying

"Three-quarters of primary school children have been bullied in the past month, ranking New Zealand 34th of 35 countries in a major international study.

More evidence of an endemic bullying culture comes as teachers call for law changes to single out the most troublesome students and as the Ministry of Education plans a Behaviour Summit for early next year.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) showed only Tunisia had fewer Year 5 students reporting no instances of bullying over the past month.

Pupils were asked how often the following happened in their school in the past month:

Something of mine was stolen.

I was hit or hurt by other student(s) (for example, shoving, hitting, kicking).

I was made to do things I didn't want to do by other students.

I was made fun of or called names.

I was left out of activities by other students.

In New Zealand, 33 per cent of children answered yes to three or more of the questions -- far worse than the international average 18%.

A further 42% of pupils said they had suffered one or two of the bullying incidents in the past month.

Only Tunisia rated worse for bullying -- there, 23% of students reported no bullying.

Auckland paediatrician and former Children's Commissioner Ian Hassall said the high rates of bullying reflected a "punitive culture".

"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."

Inquiries into school bullying by the Children's Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission are under way.

Briefing papers to the new Education Minister, Anne Tolley, reveal plans for a Behaviour Summit to be held in March next year.

The papers state that the Ministry of Education is already dealing with 4500 children aged five to 14 who have "the most severe behavioural needs".

"In March 2009, the ministry is planning to bring together the education sector and other stakeholders in a Behaviour Summit to consider the evidence on effective behaviour management and commit to a plan of action," the papers state.

A spokeswoman for Tolley said the conference plan was at a "very embryonic stage".

Only last week a 10 year old boy tried to jump from a school roof after suffering abuse at Ascot
Community school following burns he sustained in a fire 2 years previously.

In March 2008 Toran Henry, 17 died after a fight at Takapuna grammar school where he mother said he was bullied by both students and staff

New Zealand's Culture of Brutality

Peter Duune has said

"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,"

Shortly after this post was made the Human Rights Commission released a report in which it identified significant human rights issues in relation to violence in New Zealand Schools.
"The report (also) focuses on how well the principles of human rights and natural justice are reflected in school policies and practices managing peer-to-peer violence in schools.

Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said, "We found that parents and children can be re-victimised when they are not accorded the right to be heard."

Schools require clear guidelines stating that parents should be informed if their child is bullied, abused or attacked at school. There was little or no information or guidance from government agencies on how to deal with bullying between peers. These left schools with no clear steer about when or how to involve the police or Child, Youth and Family.

Ms Noonan said, "There is insufficient focus on the terrible impact violence on children and young people has on the victims’ right to education."

A human rights approach to bullying highlights the need to protect the rights of the most vulnerable and to treat violence between students at school as seriously as we would violence involving adults or incidents outside school.

Ms Noonan said, "Recognising and respecting the rights of the victims in no way undermines the rights to education and natural justice of those students accused of violence, abuse or serious bullying.

"It will, however, produce fairer, more durable outcomes and safer schools."

The Commission receives a persistent and concerning level of complaints about school bullying, 31 in 2008 and 15 in 2007.

Ms Noonan said that the cases that have come to the Commission have demonstrated the importance of making human rights and responsibilities explicit in education law and the visible foundation for every school.

She said, "It is time every child and young person has the opportunity to learn, practice and experience the human rights that are at the heart of New Zealand society."

The Commission has worked alongside the Office of the Children’s Commissioner on the issue of violence in schools. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner releases its investigation into school bullying today.

Ms Noonan said, "We have been working closely with the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and government agencies on this issue and we will continue to do so in order that the necessary changes happen to ensure children and young people are safe when they attend school."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

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 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 (Korean) : Link
  • Racist remarks drove student to react: Link
  • 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

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Teacher Stabbed in Auckland Classroom

In an incident that has echoes of similar attacks in countries such as the UK a male high school teacher has been stabbed in his classroom at a New Zealand high school.

The stabbing occurred at Avondale College, Auckland.

Source NZ Herald

David Warren, a Caucasian 50 year old teacher taking a Japanese class, was stabbed in the back by a student whilst writing on a classroom whiteboard.

Initial reports were that he was in a serious condition but later news is that is he is expected to leave hospital soon.

Police have arrested a 17 year old Korean student in connection with the attack.

College was in Lock Down; Students told not to speak to media

The Herald stated that
"...One reader emailed to say that her daughter was a student at the school and had been locked in the college's squash courts while police searched for the teacher's attacker.

Avondale College principal Brent Lewis told students had been asked not to speak to the media but said reports they would be expelled if they did so were untrue.

He said school would continue as normal tomorrow..."

Earlier in the day this appeared on

"The teacher - 'Mr Warren', according to information given to students - was taken to Auckland Hospital in a serious condition with wounds to the top of his back. The incident happened at 11.42am.

"A student stabbed a teacher in the back while he was writing on the whiteboard," a police spokesman said. The student then "just walked off".

A police statement said a 17-year-old international student was found at a Blockhouse Bay property about an hour after the stabbing and was being spoken to by police. An associate of the Korean teenager - who had only been at Avondale College for a couple of weeks - was also at the home and assisting police.

About 20 students were in the class at the time of the stabbing - the third period of the school day - and are receiving counselling.

One shocked student being propped up by her father was led from the school gates about an hour after the stabbing. Too upset to speak to media, she only nodded when asked if she'd seen the teacher be stabbed.

The classroom where the stabbing happened has been cordoned off.

College principal Brent Lewis said the school was now in "lockdown". While the incident was very upsetting, he now had to concentrate on dealing with students and staff."

Residents fed up with Avondale College students brawling

31 October 2008


"A Highbury St resident told the Avondale Community Board on Tuesday that fights between up to 40 Avondale College students have taken place.

On two occasions last term police were called in to break up or prevent fights in the cul-de-sac street, which students use as a thoroughfare to the school.

The resident, who didn’t want to be named, said students also smoke outside homes, damage private property, and verbally abuse neighbours.

"These serious fights are scary for residents," she said."

2006 Stabbings

In October 2006 Manaola Kaumeafaiva (14) died and a 16 year old youth was stabbed in the arm in what police called a "random act of fatal violence" outside the college following a church run hip-hop competition held in the auditorium. 16 year old Petani Fa’avae was later sentenced to a life sentence for the murder.

At the time of the murder a TVNZ report said:

"Although the stabbings don't appear to be gang related, many in West Auckland are concerned about rising violence among groups of youth.

Police say the two victims do not have gang connections, didn't know their attacker and it is not thought that they even knew each other.

The two boys were students of Avondale College."

Wikipedia entry for Avondale College:
"currently one of the largest secondary schools in New Zealand with 2,654 students, with 108 of those being international students[1]. There is a large cultural diversity within the school, with an ethnic composition of New Zealand European/ Pākehā 28%, Māori 9%, Samoan 15%, Chinese 12%, Indian 9%, other Asian 7%, other European 5%, Tongan 4%, Niuean 3%, other Pacific 2%, Other 6%. Around 50 different countries are represented in the student body and each of these is represented by a flag in the gymnasium.

The principal of Avondale College and head of the 179 teachers is Brent Lewis. Many staff members of Avondale College come from Britain...

Avondale has a sister school in Japan called Daito Bunka, which is a preparatory school for Daito Bunka University, Tokyo."

Karen Aim Murder - A Change of Plea and a Father's Unanswered Questions

Jahche Broughton (15) who had previously pleaded guilty to the murder of Scottish woman Karen Aim has taken on a new lawyer and has asked to change his plea before sentencing is given out.

According to
"Legal experts say Broughton's young age he was 14 at the time of the killing could be used as a factor in his plea change application, in that he may not have understood the nature of the charge or a possible defence."
Karen's parents are said to be disappointed with the change but Mr Aim still has unanswered questions regarding events surrounding the death of his daughter.

Broughton was said to have been vandalising a school on the night of the murder. A baseball bat used to batter Karen had also been used to smash windows at the school . However, Karen's body was found just metres from her home, well away from the school.

Broughton was said to have hidden the bat at his home and showed it to his mate Leigh Herewini.

Herewini is the 34-year-old security guard who responded to an alarm at the school on the night of the assault.

In a court hearing in Sept of last year Herewini gave evidence that

"the accused had shown him the baseball bat when he had gone to his house about two or three days after Ms Aim was killed.

"It had a lot of dents and bitsmissing off it," Mr Herewini said. "It looked like it had blood on it."

He said the accused had called him on the day Ms Aim was killed and told him he knew who was responsible for the murder.

"He said it was a guy Bryan, a Mongrel Mob prospect from Rotorua."

The accused allegedly said Bryan had hit Ms Aim over the head with a baseball bat and was planning on throwing her into the Waikato River "but there was too much traffic around so he left".

Previous Karen Aim articles: Link

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hamilton On-Line Date Leads to Sex Assault

Clio Francis

"Police have issued a warning over the perils of online dating after an alleged sexual assault in Hamilton over the weekend.

Detective Inspector Greg Nicholls said a 41-year-old man was facing a variety of charges relating to the alleged sexual assault of a woman in her home on Saturday morning.

He would appear in Hamilton District Court this afternoon, he said.

"The offender and victim had connected via the internet sometime last November and had been in subsequent contact since by phone, text and email but had not previously met in person.

"The pair had planned to meet on Friday night, however when that fell through the accused had gone to the victim's house and sexually assaulted her," Mr Nicholls said.

He urged people to exercise caution.

"Wherever possible when meeting with someone for the first time meet in a public place, such as a cafe or restaurant and inform someone where you are going and who you are meeting."

A German tourist made headlines last month after travelling to New Zealand to stay with a Dunedin man she had met on the internet.

The woman, 36, struck up an online friendship with a man she believed was a 33-year-old PhD student from Dunedin in October.

When she arrived on February 8, she realised the unkempt, unemployed 54-year-old had lied about his identity.

She went to his house, where chickens lived inside among cartons and rubbish, and there was no electricity.

When he refused to let her leave the house on her own or take her passport, she contacted a person she had met on her plane, who called police.

The Armed Offender Squad were called while the pair were in Kaikoura, but she was later rescued by police.

The man would not be prosecuted, police said."

Armed Youths Cased Dairy Before Robbery

Source: NZ Herald
Andrew Koubaridis

"The masked youths who robbed a dairy at gunpoint for icecreams were captured by the store's security cameras - with their faces uncovered - when they visited the store shortly before the crime....

... police believe two of the three robbers checked out the Edendale dairy between 7.45am and 8am that morning while they pretended to look for something on the shelves.

During the robbery one of the trio waved a gun at shopkeeper Shazia Hussain while the other two loaded a bag with about $400 - as well as chocolate bars and icecreams.

After the robbery the youths, who looked about 14 years old, fled on foot towards Edendale Reserve....

...Ms Hussain was alone in the shop with her 2-month old baby asleep in a back room. Her husband, Tahir Ketan, told the Herald on Sunday they were shocked at the age of the robbers.
Today he told NZPA his wife had been unable to sleep since the robbery.

"She is very upset," he said.

"She couldn't sleep last night and the night before. She says, `When I close my eyes, I see the same thing happening'. She is still in shock."

Mr Ketan, who wasn't present, said the incident, captured on security video, lasted 1-1/2 minutes and was like something out of the movies.

"It was like film-style, movie-style," he said.

"They threw a big black bag down and one of the boys stood there with the gun."

Cops Called To NZ Schools 40 Times A Week

Source: NZ Herald
Jacqueline Smith

"Police are being called to schools about 40 times every week of the academic year to deal with behaviour teachers say they cannot handle.

Figures issued under the Official Information Act show officers were called out an average of 1531 times each year from 1998 to deal with violence, drugs or sex offences.

Last year, they were called 1658 times.

The number of calls over violent offences jumped 27 per cent in the past decade - from 869 to 1064.

Total school enrolments rose only 4 per cent from 2001 to 2009 and lobbyists say the rise in offences is alarming."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Two Swedish Tourists Killed on Dangerous Northland Road

Within hours of their arrival in New Zealand two young Swedish tourists have been killed on a notorious stretch of road

Source NZ Herald

"Relatives of two Swedish tourists who died in a car crash in Northland are being sought by Interpol to tell them of the tragedy.
The two young women, both in their early 20s, died when they lost control of their car on the northern side of the Brynderwyn Hills, south of Whangarei yesterday.
Their car crossed the centre line and hit a north bound car, killing the two women and slightly injuring the driver and front seat passenger of the north bound car."

Whangarei Sergeant Chris Goodall said the road had a "decided history of loss of control accident whenever it rains." and that although the road was three lanes wide there was a tendency for people to "fall off" and to lose concentration.
According to the Herald it was the second fatal accident in the area in two days. On Friday Robert Watene, 22, died when his car and a truck collided on State Highway 1 near the Waipu turnoff, about 30km north of the Brynderwyn Hills.

The deceased were later named as 20 year old  Emelie Jenny Green and Theresia Andrea Johansson.

362 Killed in last 12 months

In the year to 27 Feb a total of 362 people have been killed on New Zealand's roads, 66 of them in the last 2 months.

See also 'Eva Kosanic, French National, Dies in Northland Car Crash'

British Newspaper Publishes "Suicide Hill" Story

According to the UK's Telegraph newspaper part of the Omapere sand dunes is known locally as "suicide hill"

Source: Telegraph, UK
By John Bingham and Paul Chapman

"(Thomas Donaldson) died in hospital in Auckland on Wednesday after the "sand duning" accident in the north of the country 10 days ago.

Mr Donaldson, from the village of Duffield near Belper, Derbyshire, was riding down the slope on a boogie board - a form of surf board - with three friends at Omapere, 160 miles north west of Auckland, last Monday when he ran into difficulties.

He was airlifted to hospital in nearby Whangerei with head injuries before being transferred to Auckland where he was placed on a life support machine.

His father Michael, 58, a GP in Belper, and mother Jacqueline, 51, are believed to have been at his bedside when the machine was switched off on Wednesday.

A relative at the family home said that they had flown to New Zealand following news of the accident last week.

Staff at Ecclesbourne School near Derby, where Mr Donaldson was head boy, described him as a "wonderful and popular young man of huge promise".

"His life was a positive influence on many others and the impact of this news has been profound," said a spokesman for the school.

"Tom's family are in our thoughts and prayers."

Sand duning is a cross between snow boarding and surfing in which enthusiasts ride down a steep embankment on a board either standing up or on their stomachs.

Known for its dramatic dunes Omapere has become popular with enthusiasts and has specially marked safe slopes.

But one local witness claimed that the four men had been riding outside a safe area on a near-300ft high embankment with a 90 degree drop at the bottom.

Visitors are frequently warned against boarding on the slope nicknamed "Suicide Hill".

His companions, who have not been named, reached the bottom but Mr Donaldson landed badly, local reports said.

It is thought the board may have dug into the sand sending him tumbling on.

The others, who also had medical training, gave first aid at the scene before he was airlifted by a rescue helicopter.

The home of bungee jumping, New Zealand has become a Mecca for fans of extreme sports in recent years.

But it carries risks. Recently two Australian brothers died when they were hit by falling ice after crossing viewing barriers at a glacier.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said that the family were receiving consular assistance in New Zealand."

British Tourist in Napier Attack is Named

Source: Telegraph, UK
By Paul Chapman in Wellington

"A British tourist left fighting for his life in a New Zealand hospital after being assaulted so viciously that police say his attackers' boot marks were left imprinted on his head and face has been named.

Stuart Martin, a 31-year-old from Scotland, is in a coma in Hawke's Bay Hospital with a severe head injury.

His condition is described as critical.

Mr Martin, who has been living in Australia, had flown to the North Island seaside resort of Napier to attend the wedding on Saturday of a friend, Rory McBrearty.

He had been at a stag party when he became separated from the others, and police say he was set upon while walking past shops in the suburb of Taradale about 1am on Friday.

Mr McBrearty, also 31, has been keeping vigil at his comatose friend's hospital bedside.

He said: "I'm pretty upset about it all. It's overwhelming.

"I'm on the verge of a breakdown to tell the truth," he told Wellington's Dominion-Post newspaper.

He said that hospital staff were "not saying much about his condition, but it's pretty serious".

The two have been good friends for more than six years.

He described Mr Martin as "a small, friendly guy who makes friends with everyone".

A badly shaken Mr McBrearty told the newspaper that he and about 20 friends had spent much of Thursday being driven on a pub crawl.

"It was just your normal stag do. It was good. We finished up at a friend's place in Taradale."

No one in the stag party had noticed that Mr Martin was missing until they saw a police cordon around the scene while walking home through the suburb's town centre.

Detectives say they are "appalled" by the extent of his injuries.

They said a witness saw the victim being stomped on the face and head after he was knocked to the ground. The attack left him unconscious in the street.

Detective Sergeant Brian Schaab said: "The witness was unable to intervene but called police as the attack was in progress."

Three 17-year-old local youths have appeared in Napier District Court on Friday and were remanded in custody to reappear on March 4.

The three, named as Darrin Peter Wright, Hamish Glenn Bowman, and Joshua McConville, have all been charged with assault.

Police say further, possibly more serious, charges may follow"


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