Death leads to school ball ban

By Kate Shuttleworth

David Gaynor. Photo / Supplied
David Gaynor. Photo / Supplied

A school ball will be canned this year as a mark of respect for King's College student David Gaynor.

Gaynor suffered fatal head injuries after he fell from the Market Rd overbridge in Auckland after the school ball in June last year.

Principal Bradley Fenner told parents in the school's e-newsletter that the event would not go ahead .

He said the school reached its decision after a discussion with senior students and leaders and a review carried out until the end of term four last year.

'We didn't want to make any hasty decisions but, given what had occurred, we decided it was not appropriate to hold a school ball this year."

He said it could be a harsh reminder for the year 12 students who attended last year and would have been at the year 12 and 13 event if it had been held this year.

He said many schools have opted not to have school balls, but he suggested the students might like another sort of celebratory event.

He agreed scrapping the ball was a preventative measure, stopping another tragic death.

"After the incidents last year we did a detailed review of a whole range of matters and put in place a lot of strategies.

"Our major focus is looking at what we're doing to best serve and manage our students. We've improved campus security and created a drug- and alcohol-free environment."

Fenner said senior students had been quiet over the decision but were able to suggest other celebratory events as long as they weren't similar to school balls.

Despite the move, the school would still hold its end-of-year graduation ball involving staff, year 13 students and their parents.

He said the tone of the graduation ball was different to the school ball. It included a chapel service to formally close their time at school.

One of New Zealand's largest state secondary schools, Rangitoto College on Auckland's North Shore, called off its ball in 2010 after alcohol-fuelled parties were organised.

Principal David Hodge said school balls were called off in 2010 but two successful senior balls were held in 2011.

- Herald on Sunday

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