The principal of Whanganui Girls' College is appalled to learn that former students "verbally attacked" current students over the recent addition of the 'H' in the school's name.

Tania King says there were two separate instances, one on school grounds and one at the River Traders market, where year 13 girls were picked on.

The incident at the market occurred when students were handing out flyers to promote the school gala. One of them was approached by an "old girl" after being identified wearing the school uniform, and was personally blamed for the inclusion of the 'H'.

The student was "shaken" by the unprovoked verbal attack and reported the incident.


Mrs King said she expected better from the wider school community which had always placed an emphasis on instilling respect as a key value.

"I'm really disappointed that two of our 'old girls' think it is okay to approach current students and expect them to justify a decision made by the school board," Mrs King said.

"I would have expected that any adult so annoyed by this would have shown enough respect to approach me, as principal, not an innocent party who is not answerable to personal disapproval."

The decision to change the school name was done in a "transparent" and "robust" fashion with full consultation, Mrs King said. She understood the change was not welcomed by all, but people should question the level of respect they show others and the way they channel their disapproval.

"One of the most important values is respect, one value that some say is lacking from our younger generation. There are some of the older 'old girls' who may not agree with the 'H', but expressing that to current girls is not fair."

Most people had been "favourable" towards the change.

Mrs King urged anyone who disagreed with the change to talk to her, rather than target innocent students.