Students speak out for school

by Kyle

November 25, 2008
Taranaki Daily News

Senior students have come out in support of New Plymouth Boys’ High after allegations of bullying and assaults at the school’s hostel.

The five, a mix of boarders and day students, who asked not to be named, have spoken out in defence of their school.

While teachers had advised them not to talk to the Taranaki Daily News, they said they were intent on putting the record straight.

Boys’ High should not be singled out as rough play and bullying was common in all schools throughout New Zealand – and their school was no different, they said.

They fear that the recent stories in the media risked giving their school, which they believe is one of the best in the country, a bad name.

“It’s not true that we’re a violent school,” one of the the group said.

“It’s a great school. I always felt safe there and I spent five years there,” an 18-year-old senior student said.

The school had no need for the security guards or cameras used in some other schools because of the lack of violence. Any incidents were dealt with very seriously if the teachers were made aware of them.

They say they knew of a case where a person who had complained of being bullied had in fact been one of the most feared bullies in the hostel, they said.

Others had been terrified of him.

“There are two sides to every story. They did that to him as a message to him to leave us alone. I think it worked,” a 16-year-old said.

The five senior students’ advice was for the boarders to speak out about any incidents. They could then be dealt with by the teachers and the incidents would stop. “Teachers can only intervene (in) such situations if they are aware of them, which is not always the case as many students do not always talk about their problems to staff members,” the five said in a written statement for the paper.

“They deal with bullying very seriously if the teachers know about it,” one said.

The boarders were in a difficult position about what was perceived as “ratting” because they couldn’t escape by going home at night and telling their parents.

“It falls on the boarders themselves to do something. They should tell anyone they trust, older students, hostel masters or prefects,” one of the students, aged 18, said.

[NOTE: This article was created due to myself and Ben visiting Taranaki Newspapers, because we felt the negative publicity they were building for the school was not necessary. They had been printing only one side to the story, which made the school sound exceptionally violent which is definitely not the case. We requested to remain anonymous, so we did not suffer consequences from the school. We presented the reporter a letter, which had input from three other students. The reporter did an excellent job in making the story sound as if all five contributors from the letter were present at the meeting with the reporter.]