A Waikato teenager was rushed to hospital in a serious condition after a school fight that appears to have been triggered by bullying earlier in the day.
The Herald understands the boy spent several nights in hospital after being knocked unconscious in the fight, which is now being investigated by police.
The school he attends cannot be identified to protect the privacy of the students involved.
The school's principal said he couldn't give any details about what happened or the circumstances leading up to it.
"It's a matter that's under police investigation at the moment so we are pretty limited in what we can say."
The Herald has been told last Tuesday's fight was arranged after one student told another student to stop hassling an intellectually disabled boy.
The pair ended up fighting at the top of a stairwell just after 3pm.
Another parent told the Herald a third student also became involved in the fight which was filmed by some of the bystanders.
A St John spokeswoman said an ambulance was called about 3.15pm and the boy was taken to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition.
The parent said the boy has since been released from hospital but the extent of his injuries are unclear at this stage.
"He was up there for a few days but as far as I'm aware they don't know the extent of the head injury yet."
He believes several boys, aged about 14-15, were involved.
"I've been told quite a few of them have remained at school whereas only a couple have been stood down while they do their own internal investigation."
The principal wouldn't confirm how many students were involved but said there was "a range of involvement from students and the school has responded on a case-by-case basis to those depending on the level of involvement".
He said the response has varied from offering "supportive measures" to disciplinary action.
"The ministry has been involved and are notified every time we take a disciplinary response and the police have opened up an investigation and we support everyone who is involved in that investigation.
"In terms of the outcomes of any disciplinary hearing that is always to be private and confidential and treated as such so it's difficult for us to go into any details."
He wouldn't be drawn on who called the police or when, besides saying they were "on the scene very promptly".
The principal said the school doesn't tolerate bullying and support is being offered to students who need it.
"We engage with our students and our community to have a no tolerance of bullying and to try and address the issue and resolve it."
A police spokeswoman confirmed police were called to reports of an assault just before 4pm.
"The matter is currently under investigation and will undergo youth process. Therefore, police will not be providing any further comment at this stage."
The Ministry of Education is not actively involved.
"They have not requested our support at this stage but we are available if needed," said Helen Hurst, deputy secretary sector enablement and support.
Hurst said schools are not required to notify the ministry but they do have to have clear policies and procedures in place to respond to unacceptable behaviour at school.
"Bullying is a complex issue and usually has multiple causes and can take many forms. Where it occurs in or involves a school, it can very rarely be addressed with a single 'one-size-fits-all' response," she said.
She said support is available for the school to manage challenging behaviour if needed.
Youthline said bullying often comes up in calls from young people - be it victims or people who are concerned about someone who has been bullied.
"We really try and encourage them to reach out to any trusted adults," said Youthline's acting clinical consultant Bridget McNamara. "In school context we really encourage them to tell a trusted teacher or school counsellor.
"Bullying is not okay and it's definitely something we can support people with."
WHERE TO GET HELP:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Helpline: 1737