Bullying ‘second highest in world’


Bullying ‘second highest in world’

By MARTIN KAY – The Dominion Post | Monday, 15 December 2008

Kiwi children have reported the second highest incidence of bullying in the world, according to a major international report.

But the primary school teachers’ union is urging caution over the findings, which show New Zealand second only to Taiwan when it comes to children saying they have been hit, teased, stolen from or picked on.

Educational Institute president Frances Nelson said New Zealand had a high-profile focus on bullying, meaning Kiwi children were more likely to disclose incidents.

The Trends In International Mathematics and Science Study, which covered the equivalent of Year 5 pupils in nearly 40 countries, including 5000 from New Zealand, found Kiwi children reported incidences of bullying behaviour at twice the international average.

One in three Kiwi children said they were the victim of at least three of five tests to gauge safety in schools.

These were that during the past month:

Something of theirs was stolen.

They were shoved, hit or kicked by other pupils.

They were made to do something they did not want to.

They were made fun of or called names.

They were left out of activities.

Answering yes to three of the questions placed children in the low safety category. Taiwan, with 35 per cent, had the worst record, followed by New Zealand (33 per cent), Qatar (31 per cent), Tunisia (28 per cent) and Kuwait (27 per cent).

New Zealand also had the second lowest proportion, 25 per cent, of children in the high-safety category – those answering no to all five questions. Only Tunisia was lower.

The research was in a 2007 study conducted by the Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. It examined safety in schools to put maths and science achievement into a wider context.

It found New Zealand Year 5 pupils were doing worse in the subjects than more than half the other countries surveyed.

Miss Nelson said she was wary of reading too much into the safety findings though she stressed bullying was unacceptable.

“I do think that we need to be cautious about saying that we’re one of the highest bullying countries in the world, because I’m not sure that we are. I just think that we address it more regularly and kids are much more aware.

“I would strongly expect New Zealand children to report more frequently because they are encouraged to do so.”

Education Minister Anne Tolley said she wanted to see the report and the data it was based on. She did not think the previous government had done enough to deal with bullying, and planned to gather information from schools on what they were doing to spread best practice.

Labour education spokesman Chris Carter said the findings were a “shocking wake-up call” for the new government, and showed he had been right to boost anti-bullying resources for schools.

The move, which included check lists on how children could keep safe in schools, were criticised by Ms Tolley at the time. She said she stood by those criticisms.

Armed robbery for lunch spurs concerns over school violence


4:00AM Friday Nov 28, 2008

A 14-year-old schoolgirl who held a knife to the throat of a younger girl while demanding her lunch has heightened concern over the level of violence some Gisborne schools are having to deal with.

The incident came just days after a fight was filmed at another school and posted on a video website.

A small group of Gisborne Girls’ High School students approached another group of 13- to 14-year-old girls on the school field during lunch break last Wednesday.

Police said an altercation took place and a knife was used in a threatening manner.

The Gisborne Herald said it had been told a 13-year-old student was asked for her lunch, she refused, and her hair was grabbed and a knife held to her throat.

Details of the altercation remain unclear and investigations are continuing.

A parent of one of the girls approached said her daughter was shaken but “coping” and had returned to school.

“All of the parents, on both sides of the fence, are extremely upset at what has happened,” she said. “A knife at a high school is something you don’t want to see.”

She did not hold the school responsible.

“Something like this is out of their control. It’s not something you expect in a Gisborne high school,” she said.

The school’s board of trustees held a suspension meeting on Monday night to deal with three students.

Board chairman Ian Petty said one of the girls had since been excluded from the school, while the two others were on extended suspension pending further investigation by the school’s senior management team and police.

Exclusion applies to students under 16 years old and means the school needs to help them find another form of education.

Girls’ High principal Heather Gorrie said the situation affected a lot of people and it was important to allow due process to take its course effectively.

The school was understood to be supporting the victims.

The incident followed a fight at Gisborne Boys’ High School that was filmed and posted on a video internet site the previous week.

Principal Greg Mackle said a group of boys “wanting to set up a fight club” brought boxing gloves to school and began fighting during an interval period. It is understood camera-phones were used to film the footage.

The incident was stopped by school staff “straight away”.

Mr Mackle felt these fights were “mock-ups”. He was more concerned with the measures they might need to take to ensure general school safety.

His “real worry” was what they were going to do if situations such as the knife incident happened again.

“Put kids through metal detectors? It’s a real concern,” he said.

“We do what we can in terms of what we see and hear, but we do a hell of a lot in promoting the non-violent stuff as well.’

Mr Mackle sympathised with staff at Gisborne Girls’ High, saying he knew how hard they had worked to make their school safe.

“There is no way a school would tolerate that sort of violence. There’s no way a school would turn a blind eye.”


Owen Walker “Akill”: World at the fingertips of NZ’s young and lucky geek

It would seem that Owen Walker was home educated.

By putting this news item on this website we do not endorse the wrong that he did but want to highlight the skills that he gained through possibly being home educated and self taught.


By Jane Phare and Carolyne Meng-Yee

Owen Walker (left), with friend Richard Simms. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Owen Walker (left), with friend Richard Simms. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The Whitianga computer whiz kid who masterminded an international network of computer hacking has become something of a local hero, flooded with international job offers and celebrated by fellow geeks.

Last night local geekers organised a birthday/freedom party for Owen Walker, who turned 19 yesterday. The party, a LAN (local area network) night of playing computer games, was to celebrate Walker’s discharge without conviction in the High Court at Hamilton last week.

Walker has yet to make a decision about his future but his stepfather Billy Whyte told the Herald on Sunday that his son had been inundated with job offers from overseas.

In an extraordinary move backed by the police, Justice Potter last week discharged Walker without conviction on some of the most sophisticated crimes seen in New Zealand. The judge took into account that Walker could have a brilliant future using his talents overseas. He was ordered to pay $9526 towards his share of damage to Pennsylvania University’s computer system, give his computer and related assets to the police and pay costs of $5000.

In April, Walker pleaded guilty to six charges, including accessing a computer for dishonest purpose, damaging or interfering with a computer system, possessing software for committing crime and accessing a computer system without authorisation. The crimes carry maximum sentences of up to seven years in prison.

In a poacher-turned-gamekeeper scenario the Crown acknowledged that if Walker escaped conviction he could use his skills to help law enforcement agencies. The police have expressed interest in considering him for a job.

Walker told the court he was interested in forensic analysis and securities systems and would be interested in working with the New Zealand Police should an offer arise.

For the moment he is still working part time in Whitianga as a computer programmer, and living at home. His only asset is a computer he bought to replace the one seized.

Whitianga Year 13 student Ella Grierson said yesterday that she and a group of computer friends had decided to hold a birthday/freedom party for Walker to celebrate the court’s decision.

“I was glad he wasn’t convicted because people needed to focus on what he didn’t do. He is really a nice person, I mean he wasn’t hurting anybody. He is a really smart guy.”

Grierson said Walker had become a local celebrity.

“I think he will go down in Whitianga history. It’s pretty exciting, especially because he didn’t go to school and when he did he was bullied. It’s great that the world has become aware of him and his amazing skills.”

Added later:


Self-taught Whitianga computer whiz Owen Walker………

Home-schooled in his high-school years and with no formal training in computers, Walker taught himself computer programming and encryption.


His mother says he was diagnosed at age 10 with mild Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism often characterised by social isolation but great intelligence…..

But he was taunted, and, by the age of 14, he had been pulled out of school by his parents.

“He was bullied by the ‘cool’ kids, especially the boys. Also because he was a computer geek. They were boys being boys but they were mean to him.

“Self-taught, he developed skills and knowledge which impressed even the FBI investigators who closed in on him. As he hit his mid teens he became increasingly fascinated by what he could do with computers.


Walker was home-schooled from the age of 13, removed from school due to bullying. He received no formal computer training, instead teaching himself programming and encryption.

Read It and Weep

The many negative aspects of public schooling are well reported in the daily papers.
Schools were also becoming seriously affected by social problems becoming in the worst cases mere baby-sitting services. Do you want your children to go to a school where social problems rule the programmes?
–Massey University vice-chancellor Dr. Neil Waters, Manawatu Evening Standard, 21 June 1991

CHRISTCHURCH: A 3rd- former at Kaikoura High School has been suspended after he admitted giving drugs to fellow students.
–Manawatu Evening Stnandard, 28 June 1991.

AUCKLAND: Hundreds of South Auckland school children spent a tense two hours confined to their classrooms as armed police hunted for a gunman after a man was shot near their school.
–Manawatu Evening Standard, 8 June 1991.

WELLINGTON: An average of 980 primary school children were killed or injured in road accidents each year during the ’80s, the Transport Ministry says. One third of all the casualties occured between 8am and 9am and 3pm and 5pm. Accidents were more evenly spread during holidays.
–Manawatu Evening Standard , 23 February 1991

SYDNEY: Children who go to child-care centres are more likely to get coughs and colds than those who remain at home, an Adelaide survey says. A research team has found the risk of picking up respiratory infections increases the earlier the child starts attending child-care and the longer the child spends there.
–Manawatu Evening Standard , 17 June 1991.

The School Trustees Association has warned schools to check job applicants thoroughly after a Christchurch language aide was convicted of sexually abusing his pupils.
–Dominion Sunday Times, 12 May 1991

WELLINGTON: Hutt Valley schools were more vigilant today after a man with a knife threatened a six-year-old at Eastern Hutt School yesterday.
–Manawatu Evening Standard, 18 April 1991

What I would like to see in the political debate about education is a recognition that public education is an exercise in social engineering by definition.
–Phillip Capper, PPTA, Dominion Sunday Times, 14 October 1990

CHRISTCHURCH: Unresearched government-decreed practices in schools could socially, emotionally and intellectually deform children, says Christchurch Teachers’ College principal Colin Knight. Dr. Knight said the education system placed children at risk by continuing to neglect educational research. “It is of serious concern to me that, despite the far-reaching effects of teaching on society, few educational practices have a sound research basis.” He said changes in what went on in schools were mainly brought about by politically initiated reviews and reports on questionnaires and Gallup polls, by parliamentary debate and political expediency.
–Manawatu Evening Standard , 4 December 1990

The Auckland Lesbian and Gay Youth group has been approaching schools asking to talk to staff and students about the difficulties that young gays and lesbians face and to suggest ways to make schools a more supportive environment for homosexual students.
–Dominion Sunday Times, 8 July 1990

Ad in Manawatu Evening Standard of April 1991:
Members of NZPPTA have voted to withdraw their labour for 24 hours on Tuesday, April 30, in accordance with the CTU day of action. The following secondary schools will be affected:
(nine schools listed)
Signed by:
Bronwyn Cross, Manawatu/Wanganui Regional Chairperson-NZPPTA”

WELLINGTON: About a third of Form 3 mathematics teachers are not qualified in the subject, a study of mathematics in secondary schools released yesterday says.
–Manawatu Evening Standard, 27 March 1991.

Only five percent of physics teachers in New Zealand schools were qualified in the subject.
–Massey University vice-chancellor Dr. Neil Waters speaking at SciTech 2000 conference in Wellington, and reported in the Manawatu Evening Standard , 21 June 1991.

Palmerston North’s Queen Elizabeth College Re-Invents the Wheel with “Achieve” Programme. Principal Alison Collett: “Teaching does not equate with learning when it is imposed on classes, and in one-hour slots in which students are controlled to conform, rather than empowered to learn.” (On the Achieve programme students) interact with each other in learning groups, which is unusual, as children at school ordinarily mix only with others from their own age group. Staff say this type of interaction results in improved interpersonal skills, by having children of not only different ages, but at different academic stages help each other. Co-operation is a big part of the programme.
–Manawatu Evening Standard of 23 March 1991 and 26 June 1991

Drug use among school-aged children is a major reason why achievement standards are slipping, according to Life Education national director Trevor Grice. Discussions with principals showed drug use was widespread in (NZ) schools and there were 500 drug- related expulsions last year.
–Dominion Sunday Times, 10 March 1991

TAURANGA: A playground game involving sinking teeth into an unsuspecting school mate’s bottom has left five students suspended. In the game, tagged barracuda, victims are forced to the ground and restrained while attackers bite a buttock.
— Evening Standard, 16 March 1991

During cross-examination, defence counsel Les Atkins QC played a rap tape made by the girl and her friend the same year as the alleged (sexual) offences (were committed against them). The tape contained obscenities as well as inferences about the girl’s current boyfriend’s sexuality. She said the obscenities on the tape sung by her had no meaning. Everyone at school used such language freely.
— Court Reporter, Manawatu Evening Standard, 19 February 1991

The School Trustees Association has warned schools to check job applicants thoroughly after a Christchurch language aide was convicted of sexually abusing his pupils.
–Dominion Sunday Times, 12 May 1991.

WELLINGTON: School insurance is proving too high a risk. Insurance of school furniture and equipment is proving too costly because of arson and vandalism.
–Manawatu Evening Standard, 22 Nov. 1990

Auckland: Detective Senior Sergeant Mark O’Connor said violence had been building up as one gang tried to move in on the other’s cannabis-selling territory. The gangs had been targeting schools in the area and the worst case was when they tried to sell drugs to 10-year-olds. Mr O’Connor said the gangs had caused problems for young people and their parents by peddling drugs in or around schools. Police knew that the dealers were waiting outside schools and in some cases getting into school grounds to sell to students.
–The Dominion, 16 Aug 1994

Author Alan Duff has questioned the motive of the primary teachers’ strike…(He) said (they) weren’t going on strike “for the kids, but for more pay. I have never known teachers go on strike in protest because there were no books in the homes, or because children were coming to school hungry.”
–Evening Standard, 11 July 1994.

Wellington: School Trustees Association deputy president Mark Farnsworth (said,) “I have a personal sympathy with them (teachers) over the issue, but I’m dismayed they have to go on strike, because once more children are the pawns of the game.”
–Evening Standard , 12 July 1994.

Invercargill: Six children were taken to Southland Hospital …after a school bus and a…vehicle collided near Nightcaps.
–Evening Standard, 22 July 1994.

Christchurch: Acceptance of school bullying as part of growing up, to build character, and teach survival skills, is no longer acceptable (!!!!!), says Commissioner for Children Ian Hassall. Bullying included standover tactics to get another child’s lunch, and serious physical abuse. Teasing on the basis of race, sex, and disability was also a form of bullying.
–Evening Standard, 22 July 1994

The bus left the road and landed in a ditch with much of its floor ripped out. About 40 Hamilton secondary school students were on board. Ten teenagers were injured and were taken to a medical clinic with grazes and bruises. A 15-year-old German exchange student was taken to Hospital with a fractured letg. It was the fifth bus crash in the North Island in the past month. Four have involved school buses. Police said initially fears were held for the safety of the students after an LPG tank in the dead woman’s car ruptured.
–Evening Standard , 23 July 1994.

New Zealand still lacked a quality education system, Education Minister Lockwood Smith said last night. “It comes as no surprise to me that the work of our Education Review Office has shown we have little idea just how effective our schools have been,” he said.
–Dominion, 3 August 1994.

Auckland: Two students at Auckland’s Mt Albert Grammar School have been suspended for four years after they were involved in a fight in which another boy received stab wounds.
–Evening Standard, 23 April 1994.

Auckland: Fires destroyed classrooms at two Auckland schools yesterday. Police blame arsonists.
–Evening Standard, 27 June 1994.

An Auckland boy who will be five in October has been refused entry to his nearest primary school, even though his two sisters go there.
–Evening Standard, 27 June 1994

Wellington: The Education Ministry has resorted to television advertising in its fight against truancy. Ministry communications manager M Deaker confirmed ??.that the ministry had begun a $300,000 campaign to try to boost school attendance.
–Evening Standard, 27 June 1994.

Wellington: Children are being used as pawns in the pay dispute… says School Trustees Association president Les Maxwell.
–Evening Standard, 9 July 1994

A book, Challenges and Change , was launched by the Family Planning Association yesterday. (FPA spokesman Ms Hughes said,) “Young people will make their own decisions to have sex or not, and it’s necessary they have the knowledge to make informed decisions. Abstinence isn’t the only option.” A course called Challenges and Change was launched last night at Auckland’s Penrose High School by Health Minister Jenny Shipley. The final session encourages heterosexual students (!!!!!!) to accept homosexuals and aims to build self esteem in gay and lesbian students.
–Evening Standard, 28 June 1994.

Wellington: Large increases in the number of pupils suspended from school showed the education system was failing to meet the needs of its consumers, (Youth Law Project education advocate Tim Howard said.) The high level of truancy also related to schools not being able to meet their students’ needs.
–Evening Standard, 5 July 1994.

Children as young as four were being banned from early childhood centres and schools because they were likely to kill themselves or their classmates if they stayed, Special Education Service Manukau North area manager Chris Hilton-Jones said yesterday….The case of a Christchurch eight-year-old being suspended from school for terrifying teachers and trying to strangle other children was “the tip of the iceberg”….Schools were “unsafe” and it was time teachers and principals stopped pretending violence did not exist….Some children….had been banned from kindergartens and kohanga reos because they were “severely dangerous”. She said pupils were….taking knives and bits of wood to school and using them as weapons. A survey of 960….pupils in South Auckland schools last year showed sexual abuse, serious assault and extortion were common….But the survey showed only half the cases were dealt with by schools when students did seek help.
–Dominion, 18 August 1994.

Parents, pupils and teachers of Feilding’s Manchester Street School….contemplated three classrooms destroyed by arson. A Ministry of Education property officer at the scene yesterday estimated the cost of repair or replacement of the block to be as much as $500,000.
–Evening Standard, 22 Nov 93.

Wellington: The Teacher Registration Board knew of some teachers, struck off the teaching register for poor performance, who were back in the classroom, director Peter Barlow said yesterday. There was a danger teachers with criminal records could be re-employed, he said.
–Evening Standard, 11 April 1994.

City pupils are turning to weapons to guard themselves against bullying. Senior constable Bob Filbee….is aware of the amount of bullying in schools — three-quarters of students normally put up their hands when he asks how many have been bullied.
–Tribune, 15 May 1994 ?

Auckland: A 12-year-old boy was punched unconscious during a gang initiation rite at a South Auckland intermediate school yesterday, police said.
–Evening Standard , 9 April 1994.

Allegations of physical abuse at Eketahuna School are being investigated by Palmerston North CIB.
–Evening Standard, 26 May 1994.

Rotorua: A former Rotorua school principal who indecently assaulted his pupils to satisfy his sexual appetite had disgraced his profession, Judge Fergus Paterson said in the Rotorua District Court yesterday. He jailed retired teacher Colhoun John Wiseman, 57, for three-and-a-half years on 11 counts of indecently assaulting young girls.
–Evening Standard , 9 April 1994.

Auckland: A strip-search of teenage girls at Otahuhu College in Auckland could result in parents suing the school, and an investigation by the Commissioner for Children.
–Evening Standard, 4 June 1994.

Poverty is having a far-reaching affect on Palmerston North’s schools…. Five schools are supplementing the diets of some students by providing them with food. And with truancy and violence on the increase, several schools felt their educational role was being undermined.
–Tribune , 12 June 1994.

Large numbers of people were unable to read when they left school — Common theme presented to Employment Taskforce’s visit to Palmerston North.
–Evening Standard, 18 June 1994.

Good NZ image masks “pockets of illiteracy”. Research by Auckland University education lecturer Tom Nicholson….showed poor reading levels were linked not just with Maori and Pacific Island students but also with other children whose first language was English.
–Sunday Times, 12 December 1993.

Wellington: About 10 percent of schools had “serious problems” and only 14 percent were up to standard, the Education Review Office said yesterday. Almost a quarter of schools were failing to consult the community on health education, particularly sex education.
–Evening Standard , 10 December 1993.