A mother who challenged two teenage girls over an after-school attack on her daughter says the media should focus on bullying _ not her.
Mellissa Anderson has been in the spotlight since revealing how 13-year-old Summer was left bloodied and bruised in an assault outside Kaipara College in Helensville last Friday.
Summer suffered a black eye, welt on the side of her face and cuts to her eyelid in the attack, which occurred as she was waiting to catch the bus home.
Anderson has spoken of challenging the two 14-year-olds after being called by her daughter, who found refuge in a resident's house.
Police arrested her and allege she slapped one of her daughter's attacker.
Anderson appeared in Waitakere District Court on Tuesday facing one charge of assault. She entered no plea and unsuccessfully sought name suppression.
Her story generated considerable support from other parents who said that in the same position they would have stood up for their children too.
In a statement to APNZ today, Anderson said she had been overwhelmed by the amount of publicity and wanted privacy for the sake of her daughter, who had found it distressing to see her name and images in the public arena.
"My biggest regret is that my intervention has detracted from the real issue at hand, which is that bullying is a bigger problem than people imagine.''
Anderson, who spoke out after a relative contacted media, thanked everyone who had expressed concern and supported her daughter - including the father of one of Summer's attackers.
"As I let the court process unfold, all I ask for is privacy so that my daughter can move on from this incident.''
And she said the incident could have been avoided if Kaipara College had acted on her daughter's numerous reports of bullying in the weeks leading up to the attack.
Kaipara College board of trustees chairman Stanley Phillips said the school could not defend itself against such accusations because Anderson was before the courts, and the incident had tarnished its reputation.
"We can't say a lot of things and as such we're not getting a fair deal, especially in the written media.
"Bullying is a matter of power and you're actually bullying us because we're bound by various acts of Parliament and ethics and so we can't say anything about it, we can't defend ourselves.''
Mr Phillips and college principal John Grant have both previously spoken of the school's tough stance against bullying and how they dealt with problems as soon as they were made aware of them.
One of Summer's attackers is being dealt with by Youth Aid. Both the alleged attackers have been suspended for at least the rest of the school year.
Details of other school bullying incidents emerged this week.
A 15-year-old Pukekohe High student was held down and violated with a vehicle part and a 13-year-old pupil at Sommerfield Intermediate in Auckland was beaten up in the playground by two other boys.
Parents Inc chief executive Bruce Pilbrow said schools should have a zero-tolerance policy to bullying, including helping children become resilient. Parents also needed to be available so their children could come to them with concerns.