Students who filmed a fight at Mahurangi College that went viral on social media have joined those punished over the incident.
Principal Tony Giles said the incident could have been dealt with a lot quicker and easier without the added complication of widely shared video.
“What it does is that it re-victimises the kids involved. They get shamed. Everybody is gossiping about them all over social media. It’s insidious.”
Mr Giles said one of the principles the school promotes is being an “upstander” rather than a “bystander” – teaching students to calm conflict situations rather than inflame them.
Being an “upstander” could include a senior student using their voice to remonstrate with junior students involved in a scuffle. Alternatively, informing a teacher on duty or a dean.
Mr Giles rejected the idea that filming might be done for evidential purposes to determine what happened.
“The reality is kids film it so they can post it and have a laugh,” he said.
He added that during such incidents there were always plenty of students to get statements from.
The fight occurred on a school playing field at the end of last month.
He said no student involved was seriously hurt and there was a degree of culpability on both sides.
Mr Giles declined to specify what disciplinary action had been taken against the students, but confirmed the students involved were still at school and had not been suspended or expelled. He said they were younger students, but declined to specify how old.
He said he had fielded several calls from parents over the incident and had been able to reassure them.
Mr Giles said fights were rare at the school and the overall tone at Mahurangi College was “awesome”.