Teen burnt with iron as part of hazing during a school sports tournament

By Sarah Harris, Amy Wiggins, Kirsty Wynn

A teenager had his bottom burnt with an iron as part of an initiation into a school sports team. Photo/File
A teenager had his bottom burnt with an iron as part of an initiation into a school sports team. Photo/File

Students from a top Auckland school and their parents have been summonsed to a 'please explain' meeting tomorrow after a hazing incident during a school sports tournament.

The Herald on Sunday has been told the incident allegedly involved a teen being burnt with a warm iron by older team-mates as part of an initiation during a tournament last week.

The incident happened at the hotel where the team was staying while competing in the secondary school sports tournament.

It is understood ages of the students in the sports team ranged from 16 to 18, and that one team member was a school prefect.

The principal of the school - which the Herald on Sunday has chosen not to name - confirmed there was an incident at the tournament but would not go into details until he had spoken to all involved.

"The chairman and I have been advised of an incident and the boys are now back in Auckland," he said.

"Until we get the boys together and we can get the details we can not confirm any details."

There is another week left of school holidays but the principal has scheduled an urgent meeting for the team, and their parents, tomorrow.

"They are meeting with myself and the director of pastoral care with all of the parents," he said.

"From what we understand at the moment we have a young fellow and his parents are keen we follow the proper procedure and process.

"We are mindful we get it right and they are indeed allegations until we have them confirmed."

The principal said the school's process was robust and consistent.

"We stand by the values of our college and if anyone transgresses those it is completely unacceptable."

Hazing is the act of using abuse or humiliation as a way of initiating a person into a group.

A man at the tournament, who wished to remain anonymous, said the "hazing incident was disgusting".

He said that at the beginning of the competition it was made clear that unacceptable behaviour could result in being pulled from the team. Despite that, the three boys allegedly responsible were still free to play in the knockout stage of the event.

The man said he believed the three students responsible would face consequences when they got back to school. He was outraged they were still allowed to play.

"We feel this is crap and nothing is going to change. They are going to sweep it under the carpet like they've done in countless other incidents.

"How does this continue to happen in our sport?"

A woman who was also at the tournament and wished to remain anonymous, said the three boys responsible were stood down for one game but were allowed to play for the rest of the tournament.

She believed the boy who was burnt was unable to play for a day because of his injury.

"It's absolutely disgusting," she said. "If they had done that sort of thing in a public arena, they would have been arrested.

"I think they should be expelled and I think that they should be prevented from playing."

Another parenthad been told there was an incident but he did not know the details.

He said that even if some members of the team had been involved in a hazing incident he was supportive of them not being pulled out of the tournament.

"A team's a team, you don't pull a player out at the last minute... You let the team down."

The coach of the team would not comment.

The chairman of the school's board of trustees said he had not been made aware of the incident.

But he said the school had procedures in place to deal with such things but would not elaborate on what that entailed.

Katrina Casey, the Ministry of Education's deputy secretary sector enablement and support, said the school had not alerted them to the incident.

"That's not surprising given it's school holidays," she said. "If this did occur and the school needs support, we will provide it."

Comedian Cal Wilson spoke out this week about a hazing-type ritual she suffered through in her school days where members of the school rugby team held her down and bit her on the bottom.

She said the girls at her high school had to endure the ritual, dubbed the "barracuda", before being accepted as a "cool kid".

In 2014, parents laid complaints with King's College in Otahuhu over an initiation-style incident where Year 9 students were allegedly marched like "prisoners of war" out of their beds about 3am, with pillowcases over their heads and their hands behind their backs.

One of the younger boys claimed he was hit across the back and legs by one of the older students.

- Herald on Sunday

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