The State restricts your choice among schools through zoning. There are options for getting an out-of-zone placement, but it's not always easy.
Then, when children of Mongrel Mob members torture your children at school, including sexual assault, the school allegedly covers it up and gives the vicious little creatures five days' suspension.
Hutt Valley High School pupils were subjected to torture, extreme violence and sexual abuse, but school authorities failed to protect victims, alert parents or report numerous attacks to police.
A long-awaited Ombudsmen's Office report reveals chilling details of systemic violence at the school, intimidation and abuse. It also identifies a history of failing to punish culprits or acknowledge the seriousness of their crimes.
A gang of six teens terrorised classmates in late 2007, chasing younger boys around the school, dragging them to the ground to remove their pants then violating them with a screwdriver, scissors, branches, pens, pencils and drills.
The premeditated attacks were committed on year 9 boys during lunchtimes. There was little teacher supervision because some staff were too scared to carry out duties "for fear of their own safety", the report says.
When the offending was identified, the 1700-pupil co-ed state school did not alert victims' parents, police or Child, Youth and Family. It instead chose to stand down the culprits for a few days.
Imagine this having happened instead in the private sector - suppose at an after-school programme. If there weren't lawsuits against the adults meant to be stopping the damned place from turning into Lord of the Flies, I'd be really surprised. I'd also be really surprised if the place didn't quickly go bankrupt as parents pulled their kids out. But the State protects its own. The Ombudsman's report finds all kinds of fault. But here are the recommendations (as summarised in the press):
Nobody's recommending that the teachers who allegedly looked the other way be fired or sued. They've already replaced the principal; the old one who allegedly covered up the abuse is now Deputy Principal. [I love how the podcast link at left uses the weasely "mistakes were made", "errors were made".] I have a hard time seeing how there isn't grounds for civil suits against a whole lotta folks, and probably criminal suit as well. Unless State employees are protected from lawsuit in case of negligent performance of duty. I'd sympathise with the teachers who feared Mongrel Mob retaliation, but they chose to allow freaking kids to be victims instead.
- Amend school national administration guidelines to make anti-bullying programmes mandatory in all schools, rather than being simply a recommendation from ERO.
- Education Ministry to provide specific guidance to schools on what level of punishment is appropriate for various offences and actions. Improve disciplinary procedures by requiring principals and school boards to consider victims' views when making decisions on discipline in cases of bullying or violence.
Mydeology has more details, here and here.
But isn't it freaking wonderful that we have the State to protect us. Give it a monopoly on the use of violence that it mostly exercises against the kinds of people against whom you could already defend yourself. For the ones where you'd really need the external help, like Mongrel Mob kids shoving screwdrivers into your kid's anus at school, the State won't do anything because it's too scared of the Mongrel Mob.
Today's one of the days I'd be pushing the button for the abolition of the State and its replacement with private security. Or at least make it easier for kids to switch out of criminally incompetently managed schools.
[I added the word allegedly a couple of times to be safe]
See also DomPost
Update2: Ombudsman's report says some of the involved youths were referred to the family and juvenile courts. Nothing is said of outcomes.