Pupil bashed in playground

By Elizabeth Binning

The mother of the 13-year-old victim said her son had 'been bullied by this boy before'. Photo / Thinkstock
The mother of the 13-year-old victim said her son had 'been bullied by this boy before'. Photo / Thinkstock

A pupil has been suspended from school and another stood down after a 13-year-old boy was beaten up in a playground - the latest in a series of schoolyard bullying cases to come to light this week.

The victim's mother, Tracey, told the Herald her son was attacked on Friday afternoon while he was in the playground at Somerville Intermediate in Howick, East Auckland.

The first boy allegedly initiated the incident before the second became physically involved, punching and kicking Tracey's son, who was left with a swollen face and blood on his shirt.

"He has been bullied by this boy before. My son is a bigger boy - he's not overweight - but he does sometimes get called 'fatty' and this child is half his size."

"I've talked to some of the kids and they said he just jumped on him like a pitbull dog and wouldn't get off him.

"He ... kicked him in the head, wouldn't get off him, and the kids had to get him off him."

"I was in shock when I saw my son's face the way it was - his eye was all bashed up and he had a blood nose. I took him to the doctor's and my friend reported it to the police."

The teenager's mother is angry at the way Somerville Intermediate has handled the incident, saying it's taken too long for the main offender to be disciplined.

She said her son was harassed last year by different boys at the school and was assured he would be safe this year.

Instead, she said, it appears he has been regularly harassed again, with things escalating on Friday.

Tracey said the boy who initiated the violence was stood down on Monday but the boy who actually hit her son was not dealt with until Wednesday - something that has left her furious, as her son was too scared to return to Somerville in that time.

"They should have guaranteed that my son was safe to come back to school on Monday and that child wasn't there. They are saying to me that he wasn't there, but other kids are telling me he was."

Principal David Ellery said the school had to speak to both sides as part of its investigation to ensure it had all the facts about what happened.

"There were some serious allegations and potentially some serious consequences so it was important I had the full story."

After being able to speak to Tracey's son in person on Wednesday, Mr Ellery suspended the attacker, whose fate will be decided by the board of trustees.

The other boy, who was stood down for a day, has been allowed to return to Somerville, but with conditions. Mr Ellery said the school took bullying and violence very seriously and had a strong virtues and anti-bullying stance.

Although there was the odd incident - just as at other schools - Mr Ellery said the vast majority of students felt happy and safe at Somerville Intermediate and the school worked hard to ensure things remained that way.

He said the victim returned to school yesterday and appeared to be happy and settled.

He urged any child who felt unhappy or unsafe to talk to staff so the matter could be investigated.

Tracey contacted the Herald about her son's beating after hearing about another case of schoolyard violence. The Herald reported on Monday how a 15-year-old Pukekohe High School student was held down and violated with a vehicle part by three other students.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

STAND-DOWN
A student can be removed from school for a period of up to five days. He or she returns automatically to school following the stand-down period.

SUSPENSION
A student is formally removed from a school. The board of trustees decides the outcome. Boards can either lift the suspension (with or without conditions), extend the suspension (with conditions), or terminate the student's enrolment.

- NZ Herald

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