From the NZ Herald:
Top schools involved in fights shown on internet
Saturday October 28, 2006
By Kiran Chug and James Ihaka
An Auckland student claiming to have posted to the internet one of the cyber-bashing clips that have outraged principals says video violence is only going to get worse.
“Every time a fight happens, all you see is a camera going up,” the 17-year-old said last night.
Pupils from some of New Zealand’s top high schools have been captured on camera in bashings, some with racist overtones. The clips were posted to the popular YouTube website.
They came to light in the week of the case of a sexual assault on a Melbourne girl by a pack of schoolboys who made DVDs of the attack and distributed them widely.
The girl was urinated on and her hair set alight in the attack, which has shocked Australia.
The New Zealand videos of fighting, which include clips from Auckland Grammar, St Kentigern College and Tauranga Boys’ College, were yesterday condemned as “extremely sad” and a “worrying trend” in youth culture by education authorities, including the minister.
The 17-year-old, who told the Weekend Herald he was a student at Mt Albert Grammar, said he had posted the fight video, which depicted a friend brawling at Auckland Grammar, a couple of weeks ago simply so other friends could “enjoy” it.
“It’s, like, kinda simple,” he said. “People just act cool in front of each other.”
St Kentigern College executive principal Warren Peat said the appearance of the New Zealand videos marked a worrying trend.
Any students who committed random acts of violence were “random thugs”, he said. “It is just sick really. This is a random act of street violence.”
Mr Peat said the video, entitled “A saint kent’s poofter hooked by a de la Sole Kat”, had not been filmed on school grounds. The low definition of the video, which showed a student being hit without provocation, made it impossible to identify the participants.
Such videos were an irresponsible use of the technology available to students and could spark copy-cat acts of violence, said Mr Peat.
Another video on the website shows an Auckland Grammar student being knocked to the ground, while his attacker is encouraged by onlookers.
But Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris said the event was not real.
“This was a simulated event. It was make-believe, a set-up situation.”
He said it had occurred two months ago and the students involved had been dealt with at the time.
The video has now been removed by YouTube. It had been viewed 4620 times.
Mr Morris said it was “appalling” that students would even simulate such violence.
Education Minister Steve Maharey said the behaviour was unacceptable.
“To celebrate it by putting it on the net makes it worse. It reinforces that as adults we need to set clear boundaries and provide alternatives to this kind of behaviour.”
He said it was an “extremely sad development” which went to the heart of why young people needed to understand why violent behaviour was not acceptable.
Media commentator Russell Brown said broadcasting violent amateur videos gave young people a chance to brag and offered the opportunity to compound someone’s humiliation online.