The families of two boys who successfully sought a High Court injunction to allow their sons to compete in a rowing regatta say they took the extreme action because of concerns over the school's disciplinary process and whether the punishment was proportionate to the behaviour.
St Bede's College students Jordan Kennedy and Jack Bell were chucked off the rowing team after breaching Auckland Airport security on Friday.
They were caught riding on the baggage conveyor at the Jetstar carousel in the arrivals hall at Auckland Airport's domestic terminal.
The pair were given formal warnings by police and the Aviation Security Service (Avsec) after the prank shortly after arriving on a domestic flight from Christchurch.
The school decided that Kennedy and Bell, aged 16 and 17, were in breach of the school's code of conduct and banned them from competing at Maddi Cup regatta, which started this morning.
But the boys' parents sought an urgent injunction at the High Court in Christchurch to allow their sons to row in the first race at 11.28am today. It was granted by Justice Rachel Dunningham this morning.
In a statement released this afternoon the boys and their parents said the decision to take legal action was "certainly not taken lightly".
"Jordan and Jack and their families want to make it very clear that the court action undertaken was never intended to justify or excuse their actions at Auckland Airport or to suggest that St Bede's College is not entitled to take appropriate disciplinary action in relation to their behaviour," it said.
"The only reason for the court action was due to concerns over the school's decision making process and over whether or not the decision as made was proportionate to the misbehaviour."
The families said they were "very relieved" by the High Court decision today, and "very grateful that they will now have the opportunity to compete at the pinnacle event for New Zealand secondary school rowing".
However, the statement said the two teens wanted to "make it clear that they are very remorseful for their actions", and that they "accept that what they did was stupid".
"No harm was meant and it was intended as nothing more than a prank."
The pair "understand the potential consequences of their actions", the statement said.
"All parties are aware that following a full and fair investigation about the incident that there may well be disciplinary consequences. They understand this and will support the school in relation to disciplining the boys as and when appropriate."
In the meantime, the statement said, both boys would now concentrate on the regatta and "seek to prove to their crew mates, the school community and the public at large, through their rowing and their behaviour now and in the future that the chance that they have been given is justified".
Earlier it was revealed that Jordan Kennedy's father Shane Kennedy had stood down from his role as chairman of the St Bede's Rowing Club yesterday.
The statement said he chose to do so "when it became clear that court proceedings would need to be commenced".
"It was obviously not appropriate for him to remain in that role with the current court proceedings."
No further comment would be made, the statement said.
Earlier, the boys' parents sought an urgent injunction at the High Court in Christchurch to allow their sons to row in the first race at 11.28am today.
Justice Rachel Dunningham heard the case via a tele-conference this morning. St Bede's College rector Justin Boyle and the Board of Trustees of St Bede's College were named as respondents.
In a decision released before the race, Justice Dunningham granted an interim injunction to prevent St Bede's from stopping the boys rowing at the 2015 Maadi Cup.
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the pair were spotted "instantly" once they passed through the rubber curtains by a Jetstar ramp agent.
The Jetstar rep called his supervisor who, in turn, involved Avsec.
"The boys apologised immediately and said they did it for fun," the CAA spokesman said.
"We were satisfied no breach of the sterile area occurred as the boys were spotted by Jetstar staff from the moment they emerged airside, after which they were escorted out of the airside baggage area to landside, almost immediately.
"We do understand that students travelling as a group can get quite excited and have a lot of nervous energy, but they must understand that in airport environments there is zero tolerance for games or pranks and we would discourage any further instances of this type of behaviour.
"The boys are very lucky they got off with a warning and that there was no risk to the safety and security of other passengers or airport staff."
As is customary under CAA regulations, the CAA will be reviewing all details of the incident and consider if any further action is required.
The Maadi Cup regatta at Lake Karapiro is the largest national rowing regatta for New Zealand school students, with 2196 participants from 122 schools.
United Future leader Peter Dunne, himself a former St Bede's pupil, has tweeted his support for the boys.
The boys' antics were not "a harmless prank" but said it was "not for the school to resolve".
"The boys' irresponsible conduct is for their parents, Police and Aviation Security to deal with, not the college," he said.
"Schools often assume too much authority in cases like this for reputational reasons only."
Mr Dunne also tweeted that a correspondent emailed him to say, 'What is it with St Bedes' boys and airport security?'
"Best response yet," said Mr Dunne, in reference to Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee's brush with airport security last year.