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Bully report taken on board

By Geoff Vause

[email protected]

The mother of a boy at the centre of bullying allegations at Greytown School removed her son on the eve of a report on the incidents.

The alleged victim, aged 10, has been moved to another Wairarapa school, and the mother said she was “lucky to get him in there”.

Greytown School sought an independent report on the incidents around her son.

The school was told to improve its reporting to parents and to “put in place a range of measures to help stop [the accused child’s] aggressive and sometimes violent behaviour”.

Chairman of the school’s board of trustees Alistair Plimmer said all the recommendations would be followed.

The mother concerned attended the board meeting this week where the report was received, and said as her son was no longer at the school she was more concerned about other children

“It’s admirable the board is following the recommendations to help the child doing the bullying, but I’m not satisfied my son would be safe if he was still there.

“I’m not satisfied other children are safe. The board is making all the right noises, but their actions don’t match what they are saying.”

Another parent who claimed his child had been punched by the same boy attended the meeting, but was not allowed to speak.

“We were dealing with that complaint from the mother concerned and had not had a reply from her despite repeated requests.

“We can’t engage with the other parent at a board meeting in that case,” Mr Plimmer said.

Mr Plimmer said the school was doing what it could to get help for the accused bully using the appropriate Ministry of Education support processes.

“We are also sharpening our incident reporting,” Mr Plimmer said.

“Children can report incidents to student leaders and teachers. If it’s substantiated it is recorded. We’re reviewing that process.

“All schools can do things better. We are reviewing how we report to parents and offering them a choice.

“Some parents want to hear everything, others don’t want to hear anything. We have to find a balance. Our approach will be to give parents the choice.”

Mr Plimmer said the board had determined the current incident was not so much bullying as a learning disability.

“The child is being supervised and help sought from the Ministry under their RTLB [Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour] services.

“Greytown School is not in the business of relocating its problems. Our aim is to do the best for every child at the school.”

He said the support from the wider parent community for the school’s approach was solid.

“These things are always difficult. It’s unfortunate it is in the media – nobody likes children being the centre of media attention in this way.

“There is also several views. The father of the child who has been moved attended the board meeting with the mother and said he was happy with what the school is doing.”

Mr Plimmer said while children should be spared media focus on their playground behaviour, the wider issues for all schools merited the scrutiny.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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