Mother of bullied teen speaks up

According to the Ministry of Education’s National Administration Guidelines, schools and kura must provide a “safe physical and emotional environment for students”. File photo.

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The parent of a bullied Papamoa teen feels helpless as she watches her 15-year-old daughter ‘completely change her demeanour’.

The mother, who wished not to be named, says her daughter has been the victim to a number of incidents of cyber bullying as well as physical, mental and emotional bullying by peers on school grounds.

She believes the situation is becoming ‘out of control’.

“My daughter has got to the point where she’s actually too scared to go to school. She’s had to be moved out of class and she has to be escorted to class by teacher.

“They say they’re anti bullying at the school but it is not the case. My daughter is being very badly bullied and they’ve just said sit and wait and see what happens, it’s just not fair.

“This is a girl who has been awarded with the Sir Peter Blake leadership award and now she’s a bubbling mess in her room,” says the girl’s mother.

“The parents of these children who are bullying my daughter, they don’t even know and I’ve been told by the school not to get in contact with them.

“They don’t see this as bullying, they see this as girls having a spat,” she says

“It’s not, when you see you child dropping their demeanour, their posture, everything; you worry.

“Why can’t parents do more, why do we have to leave it up to teachers who don’t know your child – they just know them as a student?”

She says that removing her child from the school is not an option.

“Unfortunately the zoning in Tauranga makes it super hard to get into other schools, so we can’t even move her out of the school, because there’s no one else that can take her.

“I really want to do something, I want to get a parents voice out there to hear about how frustrating it is to watch their child get bullied and there’s nothing we can do, because we’ve been told we can’t do anything and we can’t take our child out of the school because of zoning.”

“To have to get escorted to classroom because she’s terrified – where’s her right,” she says.

“It makes her stand out, people ask her what’s happening and she’s not allowed to talk about it, yet the ones behind it are going around telling her peers.

“So what is your right to be an effective parent, do we do as a parent to help protect our child?”

According to the Ministry of Education’s National Administration Guidelines, schools and kura must provide a “safe physical and emotional environment for students”.

They should also have a self-review process to identify and address risks.

Parents and/or carers and students should expect:

  •   •  to be heard and responded to sensitively and not to be dismissed

  •   •  to be told that the report will be investigated and that there will be a response

  •   •  to receive feedback on the situation and to have the incident responded to in an appropriate way

  •   •  to be protected from negative consequences of their reporting

  •   •  that the school or kura will intervene and support initiators, targets and bystanders that are involved in bullying behaviour.

Parents who are not satisfied with the way a school or Kura has responded to a bullying complaint, can make a written complaint to their board of trustees.

“You can ask to attend the meeting at which the complaint will be addressed, and you can speak at that meeting if you get permission from the chairperson.

“It may help to take along a support person who is used to dealing with these sorts of complaints,” says MOE.

Graeme Dingle Foundation is one of many local organisations that provides support and leadership programmes for youth.

Regional manager, Dan Allen-Gordon says these programs help build resilience of youth, which he believes can help combating bullying in schools.

“We have four themes that we focus on and because of what we do it builds capacity, resilience, respect and relationships school-wide, which reduces bullying better than an anti-bullying program.

“We’re in ten schools and we give kids tools to use in situations of bullying, like using their words and walking away.

“We find because of this they understand what tools they’ve got and how to use them, but also it changes behaviour in people including bullies.

“It’s quite nasty with kids at that age, and I get called a lot by parents who want their children in my programmes.”

Dan says he often does a lot of referrals to local hauora and counselling services.

“If kids have confidence, you’ll find they can’t be bullied as easy, so we’re all about building their capacity.”

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Support Group for children that have been bullied

Posted on 20-10-2017 14:08 | By mccoyjb

If you wish to see how big the problem is go to your face book and bring up the following support group : "Support Group For Parents That Have Children That have Been Bullies at School" You will be shocked at what is going on here in the western bay and Else where. It would appear that schools, The Media don’t seem to want to know about the problem they would rather it went away and sweep it under the carpet


Posted on 15-10-2017 13:52 | By morepork

I was shocked to read your post. This should have been immediately reported to Police. The reaction from the school is way inadequate and it should have been made clear to the Principal that it was not acceptable. This event shows a serious case of assault and it should not go unanswered. I seems to me that this school needs to have a serious review of their woefully inadequate (or non-existent) bullying policy, and all parties: parents, staff, pupils and police, should be in attendance. As noted previously, the most effective way to sort this is through the pupils, but they need some direction and safety. Staff and pupils should be working together, with support from the Principal, to decide the kind of school they want. If they can’t do better than this, civil litigation is the only remaining option.

Yes to civil prosecution

Posted on 15-10-2017 09:20 | By Dollie

Support for civil action. That means if successful, there will be costs awarded. That hits the parents of bullies.

firearm at school

Posted on 11-10-2017 17:40 | By mccoyjb

I agree that bullying is a huge problem in Tauranga, my grandson was held down and shot with a BB gun at school , this was then posted on facebook, he has also received a death threat by email. The schools solution, victims be isolated in the school library at lunchtimes, perpetrators allowed free rein of the school grounds , where the solution or justice in that!!!!!

@ Papamoaner

Posted on 11-10-2017 11:01 | By MISS ADVENTURE

looks like you are at it again. Peer pressure, like bullying, like tribal structure is a typical historic thing to extract priority and ensure submission. You in your way here are attempting the same thing, your mates Bell and Dey are extreme at this. It is a case of the pot ... fire ... kettle. God-save-the-Ratepayer,-as-no-one-else-wants-to,-10/4-out!

no justice for the victim

Posted on 06-10-2017 08:30 | By neanderthal

AS usual the victim is forgotten while the bully gets counselling, schools do a rotten job at protecting our children while they are at school, I think the so called education dept. should pay for the victim to attend martial arts classes, give them a fighting chance and give them some self-esteem as well, to much PC garbage that is wearing thin in society


Posted on 05-10-2017 12:38 | By Papamoaner

I reckon you’re onto it when you mention peer pressure. We need to find a way to make bullying "uncool" Then it will just fade away naturally like tattooing (I hope).

@Frillback and Overit

Posted on 04-10-2017 19:24 | By morepork

"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth"? All that leads to is a blind toothless world. "A bloody good hiding"? It might make you feel better but it doesn’t change the causes of bullying. The ONLY successful way to stop bullying is to change minds about doing it. Social pressure from the peer group is most effective for this. Kids need to learn that the duty of the strong is to PROTECT the weak, not exploit them. And they also need to learn that the society they are growing into has a rule of Law. Parents should be open with the school staff that they require action and, if it isn’t done, Civil charges will result. Every child has a right to confidence and security at home and at school. Brushing it under the rug is NOT an option.


Posted on 04-10-2017 10:34 | By overit

You are so right, but then the PC brigade would call your remedy bullying. You cant win.

For what its worth,

Posted on 04-10-2017 08:41 | By R. Bell

my experience of school bullying and how to fix it is somewhat different. I was never bullied, but it it was rampant in our school, as was vandalism. An ex borstal head was brought in, he stopped it very quickly. Method, bullies were put in the boxing ring during lunch break. Those of us in the boxing team were invited to deal to the bully. The public shame plus a good lesson on being on the receiving end, was all it took. Funny thing, when the bullying ceased so did the vandalism. Here’s to the "good old days". Robin Bell.

Make an appointment

Posted on 04-10-2017 08:32 | By waiknot

Go and make an appointment with The Head of another school. Explain the situation, Im sure with some compassion exception to the rules can be achieved.


Posted on 04-10-2017 07:53 | By Frillback

Never mind all this so called counseling stuff for bullies give the culprits a bloody good hiding and dish out some of the buyllying to them same what they did to that young girl. as far as I am concerned there are to many do gooders who think a bit of TLC will work. No way!!! return to the old days when a dam good hiding was dished out. yeah I reckon if this was done they would not dare to ever bully again!!!! As the old saying goes an Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Heck corporal punishment did not do me and others any harm made us better and respectful people.


Posted on 03-10-2017 21:52 | By Colleen Spiro

The bullies are still at school, because there are no consequences for them....even if they ADMIT it, they are OFFERED Counselling, but do not need to accept is complete and utter BS.... That is the reason the school does not want you to contact parents...they want to protect the bullies....Please contact them, as you say, they may be horrified and be able to turn their kids around, if the school is not willing to. Get the Police involved, stay in their ears until the problem is resolved for your daughter....good luck. Let justice prevail.

Pull her out!

Posted on 03-10-2017 21:43 | By Christine1965

Many stories are doing the rounds about this school. I think the culture in the school is totally wrong and it needs a good shakeup. Leadership is not up to the task when they are dealing with students and parents. Dont get me wrong not all kids are angels but there seems to be a distinct difference between the way they deal certain people. Not good enough. 1 rule for all no matter your back ground or parents jobs.

One could only...

Posted on 03-10-2017 19:53 | By Me again

wonder if having cellular phones is a problem. To be used only when necessary for the young person who is being cyber bullied. Computers or laptop monitoring while the person uses them. I realize that the young people need to be social but there other ways surely My 2 cents worth.

Dan Allen-Gorden is right!

Posted on 03-10-2017 19:45 | By morepork

He has years of experience and the programs provided by Graeme Dingle foundation, YFC, and Kids Can all have proven results. The problem of bullying is best solved by kids themselves, and with the right stimulus and guidance, kids can solve moral dilemmas, without preaching. Kids as a group can decide to suppress bullying and, as Dan mentioned, the bullies can even re-think why they do it. Confidence is everything and every child has a right to it. Parents and teachers need to be aware when serious anti-social behaviour is occurring, and address it immediately. The kind of bullying this young lady has been subject to needs to be nipped in the bud and the kids doing it need to be rounded up and have each of their actions addressed, in discussion with the whole class, and their teacher. Not talking about it is wrong AND stupid!

Lay an Assault Charge

Posted on 03-10-2017 18:47 | By Dollie

Find out from the Crimes Act what an assault is and lay a charge against the perpetrators.Or lay a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. My son was bullied when he was young. Didn’t want to go t school. At the end of term, I was so glad I picked him up as the evidence would have disappeared by the time school started again. The bully had cut my son’s eye with a punch. I marched right back to the Principal and complained. All the bully got was a detention. I am so sorry you and your girl are having to go through this. I’m surprised that a resilience programme has been suggested. The bullies should be the ones to go on those programmes. Underneath it all, they are cowards and a reslience programme may make them better children. Your chlid has Leadership qualities. Arohanui.

To many people allowed to hide,

Posted on 03-10-2017 17:20 | By R. Bell

name the school, name the purp’s, name all concerned. Bring the matter to a head NOW. Don’t wait until permanent damage is done. Robin Bell.


Posted on 03-10-2017 17:04 | By Geniegirl

I can totally sympathise, my daughter went to a school in Papamoa and was bullied by a group of girls in her year. The school were unwilling to do anything about it even though the ringleader had a reputation for this kind of behaviour. I pushed and pushed the school, in the end my daughter just attended school for her exams and dropped out after year 11. My daughter did not get the education she deserved and was entitled to because the school was too scared to do anything about it. The bullies, however, got to stay at school and finish their education. How is that fair?


Posted on 03-10-2017 14:59 | By Capt_Kaveman

child needs all the help she can and possible in great danger and action needs to be done asap, it should have already been to the BOT, next would be to go with her to school and then if there is a problem ring police to attend

Remove her from school

Posted on 03-10-2017 14:13 | By christine2

Take her out of school!!!!.it is NOT worth what is happening to there a polytech course she would like for next year

Remove her from school

Posted on 03-10-2017 14:04 | By christine2

I agree with Peaches saying to contact the parents !!!! ive done it. However, remove her from school !!!!.. staying there is not worth what is happening to your daughter !!!!!! Be proactive and do whatever it takes to look after your daughter at this vulnerable time. is there a polytech course she could be enrolled in next year

Nip it in the bud now...

Posted on 03-10-2017 13:58 | By Border Patrol

...the bullies need to be made accountable for their actions, not protected. No wonder we have such a bad record for workplace bullying, as this type of behaviour in school then continues into the workplace, where I can tell you that even then, the bullies are protected. Until we get tough on this behaviour right through our society (rather then just playing lip service to it), it will continue.

Get it sorted

Posted on 03-10-2017 13:40 | By Dino

The schools are too mamby pandy about it all. Contact the parents of these girls or tell the school to do, and if its not done within a week, lay a complaint with the Police. I had to do this at Tga Intermediate with my son, and it worked a treat. Get her to a self defence class, so that she feels more in control of herself and her actions. I don’t know kids have to be so damned horrible to one another little buggers!! Good luck to you and your daughter.


Posted on 03-10-2017 12:57 | By overit

Poor young lady, this is awlful. Why are people so cruel. I hope this gets sorted very quickly.

Bullying at school

Posted on 03-10-2017 12:42 | By Val.M

I was saddened to read this report. Something seriously wrong with our system when the victim is not allowed to talk about it to her peers, but the perpetrators are??? Something needs to be done and quickly!

Speak up

Posted on 03-10-2017 12:26 | By Peaches

I know if this was my child I would not be told to say nothing, I would be kicking up a huge fuss, I would track down the bully kids parents and be knocking on their door, also name and shame the parents and kids who are causing the trouble, plus sending my kid to a Self Defense Training Course.The school is intimidating you to stay quiet.I wish you all the best, stay strong.

mother of bullied teen speaks up

Posted on 03-10-2017 10:45 | By mccoyjb

I can sympathise with this lady as my grandson has also been the victim of systematic bullying rightthrough from primary school to college . The schools answers have always been to isolate the victim, never the perpetrators which has always seemed back to front to me. One of latest incidents involved the use of a BB gun !! which was then posted on facebook . Its never ending .

put a stop to it

Posted on 03-10-2017 10:40 | By missusmck

I had a problem with my son being bullied at high school and I actually phoned the boy’s mother who was well known in the community.she was horrified that her little darling would do such a thing so I told her that if it didn’t stop I would take it further and it did stop and my son got an apologyit is up to the school to protect the children so maybe calling a meeting with the child a the perpetrators and their parents with the principal there

Bring back the cane.

Posted on 03-10-2017 10:36 | By namxa