Bullying Crisis at Mangakōtukutuku College Sparks Safety Concerns for Students and Parents

Hamilton, New Zealand – A disturbing video posted on Instagram shows two senior students stomping on the head of a junior high school student as she tried to flee and protect herself. This violent assault is just the latest in a string of attacks among students at Mangakōtukutuku College in Hamilton, which has been plagued by incidents of violence since opening in February.

The school experienced a particularly alarming incident in February when a 13-year-old boy was knocked unconscious with a single punch during a brawl, resulting in a school lockdown. Following this, in April, a Limited Statutory Manager was appointed, and the school’s principal, Dr. Thilo Govender, is no longer leading the embattled Waikato school.

The attacks at the school appear to be instigated by an Instagram page using the school crest, with posts encouraging students to engage in fights and filming these brawls to share on social media. These incidents, referred to by students as “hokas”, often occur during lunchtime.

Parents have expressed their growing concerns, with some considering pulling their children out of the school due to safety fears. One parent, Peter, who wished to remain anonymous to protect his child, stated that the level of violence at the school is unacceptable and that the school environment is becoming increasingly unsafe for students.

Another parent shared the harrowing experience of her young nephew being seriously injured at the school, resulting in a broken leg and ongoing bullying by his tormentors. Despite a heartfelt apology from one of the bullies during a restorative meeting, the family is still grappling with the aftermath and fear for the safety of their child.

The school has been working with police to investigate the recent incident and address safety concerns. The Ministry of Education has appointed a Limited Statutory Manager to oversee the school’s operations. Questions regarding the presence of security guards, the whereabouts of the principal, and enforcement of government policies have yet to be fully addressed by the school administration.

As tensions rise among parents and students alike, the community is calling for swift action to ensure the safety and well-being of all students at Mangakōtukutuku College. The recurring incidents of violence have sparked a sense of fear and uncertainty among families, highlighting the urgent need for a comprehensive response to address the underlying issues at the school.