Schools have very little control once their students step outside their gates. They cannot, for example, prevent them from spending parts of their weekends involved in the binge-drinking culture.

But a school should do everything possible to ensure that events to which its name is attached do not besmirch its reputation or jeopardise its students' well-being.

On that basis, Rangitoto College deserves total support for its decision to ban school balls next year after parents helped students organise a liquor-fuelled after-ball function.

The principal, David Hodge, said the event, at an Onehunga warehouse, had an open bar and "dubious supervision at best".

Compounding this was the fact that the college heard about plans for the function, and had been assured by parents and students that it would be cancelled.

The non-sanctioned party went ahead even though the school had threatened to scrap future balls and even after parents were required to sign permission slips saying they understood the school's conditions before their children were given ball tickets.

Neither the students nor, especially, the parents involved in the after-ball function can have any complaints. They knew the conditions and the consequences. They deceived the school and connived in the breaking of its rules. The school's name and its reputation for exercising a duty of care to its students were placed at risk.

Those parents now suggest they may organise their own ball next year. If so, they should think deeply about their responsibilities. It would be their names and their reputations that would be sullied if something went wrong.

Parents are prone to criticise schools that do not insist on high standards. They want regimes that foster the likes of honesty, integrity and strength of character. That is precisely the context of Rangitoto College's stand. It should not waver.