The principal of a student hit by a car and critically injured outside the school says it was a "freak accident".
The 12-year-old boy was last night in a stable condition in Auckland's Starship hospital after the incident on Fraser St outside Tauranga Intermediate School about 3.10pm on Monday.
Police are investigating the incident.
Principal Cameron Mitchell, who visited the injured student in hospital on Monday, said he understood the boy was retrieving a ball that had rolled on to the side of the road when he was hit.
He believed the driver of the vehicle, which was towing a trailer, did not see the pupil.
"It was a freak accident."
He did not want to comment further about the vehicle or driver involved in the incident.
Asked if the driver of the vehicle had been interviewed, police said an investigation was underway and they had no further comment.
Mitchell said several other students witnessed the incident.
"They have been our top priority in making sure they're feeling looked after.
"Our staff have been amazing and incredibly professional... our student safety is always our number one concern and staff have gone the extra mile to ensure our students are feeling safe and secure."
He said the community had rallied behind the school and the boy's family.
"We've been blown away by our Tauranga school community who have not just been supporting the school but supporting each other."
When the Bay of Plenty Times visited the Fraser St entrance yesterday, about a dozen staff in yellow high-viz were lining the street helping hundreds of children cross the road safely.
Prior to Monday's incident, Mitchell said the school had been working with the Tauranga City Council to improve student traffic safety along Fraser St.
"We've put some protection barriers up around the pedestrian crossing and around the area of our school gate. We're exploring whether they can be extended."
The school had also moved the footpath further away from the traffic.
Earlier on Monday, before the accident, the council confirmed it would introduce a variable 40km/h speed limit outside the intermediate and four other Tauranga schools.
Mitchell said the sooner the speed restriction was in place the better.
Logan Smith, who lives near the school, said cars often "hooned" up and down the road but said the school's teachers did a good job of directing children across the road safely.
Mitchell posted on the school's Facebook page yesterday saying he had visited the
Yesterday, Mitchell posted to the school's Facebook page for the pupil and his whānau and to pass on the school's and the community's best wishes.
"They are very much aware of the support and are grateful for this."
He said a Ministry of Education trauma specialist was meeting with staff and with students who needed support.
Proper safety protocols were being followed at the time of the incident, he said.
"This was an accident and did not involve others. Our school safety protocols for exiting the school grounds were adhered to and our students have received an important reminder about safety around traffic.
On behalf of staff, he thanked people for their messages of support.
"It is great to see our community rally together in difficult circumstances."
The boy and his family attend Innerlife Church Tauranga along with Kaysi Fredericks who told the Bay of Plenty Times they were a kind and loving family.
Fredericks runs the Mirror Christian Ministries Facebook page and on Monday published a post calling for its followers to pray for the boy, his family and all who were involved in or witnessed the incident.
She said she made the post after receiving a message saying the family needed prayers.
"The more people that pray and come together, the better it is for the family and everybody, especially the child.
"They are a very loving family, the whole church community is really close."
She said the family's faith would be a source of strength during this time.
"You lean on God and that's the biggest thing that gets you through, especially for parents facing things like this.
"The post has a reach of about 20,000 people so far which is absolutely amazing, that it's been seen by all those people who are reaching out and praying for the family.
"It's not just the family either, it's also the driver and everyone else that was involved. The biggest thing with Christianity is you don't hold a grudge or unforgiveness to other people.
"Accidents happen, it's horrible but we all have to come together."
Hundreds of people left comments of support on the school's Facebook page.
Many suggested setting up some sort of fundraiser to help the family with hospital costs.
"Our hearts and thoughts go out to everyone involved, especially to the child and his family," one said.
"Our love to all involved," another said. "The student and his family, the driver, patrol teachers and students who witnessed it, and his friends who are no doubt very anxious at present. A givealittle page or a school fundraiser of some description would be awesome."
Another commenter said: "Love to this wee boy and his whānau. I hope he recovers well and swiftly."
"Thoughts to everyone involved, the child, driver, everyone that witnessed it and especially the family, a phone call no parent would ever want," another Facebook commenter said.