The mother accused of attacking a schoolgirl who beat up her daughter faced the courts yesterday as new details emerged of what sparked the incident.
Mellissa Anderson is alleged to have slapped one of two 14-year-old girls who attacked her 13-year-old daughter Summer outside Kaipara College in Helensville on Friday afternoon.
It emerged yesterday that Anderson allegedly attacked one of the girls as police were questioning them. Anderson entered no plea and was remanded on bail when she appeared in the Waitakere District Court yesterday.
It is believed Summer was initially attacked after her boyfriend was involved in a fight with the brother of one of the 14-year-old girls. Summer suffered a black eye, welt on the side of her face and cuts to her eyelid and was given refuge by a nearby resident.
Anderson said on Monday she arrived within 10 minutes of the attack and her motherly instinct took over on seeing her bleeding, distressed daughter.
At yesterday's court hearing, her lawyer, John Edgar, sought name and image suppression.
Mr Edgar said Summer wanted to change schools and publicity could cause difficulty for her.
"She is a young teenage girl who has been the victim of bullying and is in a vulnerable position as it is," he said.
Community magistrate Dianne Hale said she sympathised with the requests but ruled it was in the interests of "open justice" to continue without suppression. "Courts are open and fair for people to attend."
Outside court, Anderson, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, declined to comment, wrapping a scarf around her face and jumping into a waiting car.
Police sources said one of the 14-year-olds accused of attacking Summer is being dealt with by Youth Aid. Both are understood to be in CYF care.
All three students involved are understood to be at home while the incident is investigated.
College principal John Grant denied the matter was part of any bullying problem.
"The matter is not school bullying, it is assault. Two girls gave into their impulses and committed an assault and an adult gave into her impulses and committed an assault."
Kaipara College board of trustees chairman Stanley Phillips said no decision had been made about how the school would deal with the students.
"It's difficult - it wasn't on school grounds and we've got underage girls involved," he said.
Board members had mixed opinions about whether the bullying was assault, said Mr Phillips, but those he had spoken to "consider it serious, as we all do".
"We're not trying to sweep anything under the carpet, there's just a process that has to be gone through."
Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh said he didn't support parents confronting those who attacked their children but could understand their motivation.
"Parents get very distraught, very angry. It's most unfortunate. On the one hand you can appreciate the mother being concerned about her kid's safety but committing assault ... is not something we would endorse."
He was aware of several instances where parents had confronted their children's bullies and parents and supported Kaipara College's stance.
The Herald received dozens of emails from readers yesterday, almost all supporting Anderson.