UPPER HUTT, New Zealand – The Upper Hutt College community is reeling after a disturbing video surfaced on social media, showing two junior students viciously attacking a senior student while others looked on. The violent assault has sparked outrage, prompting both the school and the police to launch investigations.
The video footage depicts the Year 9 and 10 assailants pulling the older student’s hair and launching a flurry of kicks and punches, as at least five students filmed the attack on their phones and a dozen or more looked on. The incident took place during lunchtime last Thursday, leaving the Year 11 victim bruised.
The principal, Judith Taylor, described the attack as unprovoked and emphasized that it occurred despite teachers conducting lunchtime patrols. She also mentioned that the assault was shared on social media within an hour and later by adults on local social media pages, which further traumatized the victim.
Parents and members of the community expressed shock and concern over the incident, with one parent highlighting the impact on the wider student body. The school is now implementing an online portal to allow students to report harm anonymously, aiming to address the pervasive culture of ‘snitches get stitches’ and encourage students to speak up about bullying or harm they witness.
Taylor emphasized the need for students to feel safe in sharing their concerns, especially concerning bullying or harm on social media, and stressed the importance of adults taking responsibility for their actions in sharing such footage. As the investigation continues, the college is working with the families of the two junior students involved, with a disciplinary hearing pending for their actions.
The assault has raised concerns about the safety and well-being of students, prompting a broader conversation about addressing and preventing such incidents in schools. As the community grapples with the aftermath of the attack, there is a call for decisive action to address the underlying issues and ensure a safe and supportive environment for all students.