What does this teach?

“What would have happened if you told your parents you’d been punished for something you’d done at school?”

The question came from a teacher and my reply was simple – I wouldn’t have told them because I’d have got no sympathy and might have invited further punishment.

Had I felt I’d been unfairly dealt to and my parents agreed with me, the best I could have expected from them was acceptance that it was unfortunate but they would still have supported the school.

The teacher sighed and said if only they still had that level of support from parents. Instead, they got parents swearing black was white and their little angels could do no wrong.

That conversation was more than a decade ago and the teacher wasn’t then having to deal with legal action.

The St Bede’s College rowers axed from their Maadi Cup rowing team for breaching airport security say they took court action due to concerns over the school’s decision-making process and have questioned whether the punishment was fair.  . .

Teen rowers Jack Bell and Jordan Kennedy were removed from the school’s Maadi Cup rowing team after being given formal warnings by police and the Aviation Security Service for jumping on a baggage conveyor at Auckland Airport on Friday.

The pupils, who had just arrived on a domestic flight from Christchurch, rode the carousel through rubber curtains and into a restricted baggage area, the Civil Aviation Authority said.

The school ruled the pupils should be sent home. However, their parents, Shane Kennedy and Antony Bell, were granted a High Court injunction allowing their sons to stay and compete in the Maadi Cup.

A statement, released by the boys and their families on Monday afternoon, said the court action was never intended to justify their actions or to suggest the school was not entitled to take disciplinary action.

“The only reason for the court action was due to concerns over the school’s decision-making process and over whether or not the decision as made was proportionate to the misbehaviour. The court action was certainly not taken lightly,” the statement said.

“They accept that what they did was stupid. No harm was meant and it was intended as nothing more than a prank.

“All parties are aware that following a full and fair investigation about the incident that there may well be disciplinary consequences.” . . .

Rector Justin Boyle says this sets a dangerous precedent:

St Bede’s rector Justin Boyle said the action could be seen as undermining the school’s authority.

“What it’s doing there is is taking away the ability of the school to manage their children and any educational activity outside the classroom.”

Mr Boyle said the school’s board was meeting today to consider what actions it would take.

St Bede’s lawyer Andrew McCormick said it was important the school got a decision on whether it was right to discipline the pupils.

He said the substantive hearing could not be held until the regatta is over, so the penalty becomes moot.

But he said there were broader implications as to whether schools and principals can exercise their discretion and discipline students. . .

The Principals’ Federation says this is a worrying trend.

Principals’ Federation president Denise Torrey says it sends the wrong message to students.

“The boys didn’t learn that there are consequences to your actions and that the whole reason we have rules or a code of conduct is to outline expected behaviour.”

Ms Torrey says parents taking action in the courts is a worrying trend. . . .

No-one is arguing about what the boys did nor whether it was wrong to do it.

The court action was questioning the school’s process.

And what does that teach children?

That if they do something stupid, breach the school’s code of conduct they can get a court to stop the school imposing the logical consequences of that, not because the boys were wronged but because the school might have got the process wrong.

Once more it appears that the right process is more important than what’s right and wrong.

55 Responses to What does this teach?

  1. Andrei says:

    Misuse of the court system and example of the entitlement mentality among the rich and their scions.

    If it had been my kids I would have been embarrassed and ashamed by their actions


  2. Paranormal says:

    Maybe there is some natural justice in this after all.

    If they had taken their lumps and not gone to the Maadi cup none of us would be the wiser. Instead the individuals pictures were in the herald this morning. I’m sure national notoriety was not on the parents agenda….


  3. ben says:

    I’m reasonably comfortable with the outcome and it sends an important message to Principals and Teachers that they are not a law unto themselves as many seem to believe they are.

    Having been involved in School governance both in trustee roles and advising the standard of decision making is often woeful, driven by egos rather than substance.

    I recall one Expulsion meeting I was chairing where one of my fellow trustees complained about how long I was taking to arrive at a decision and they never normally take this long or go to that much effort.

    No one is disputing there is an argument the code of conduct was breached, nor that some form of disciplinary action may have be warranted, the Judge was purely pulled the School up on the fact it appears arguable the process was flawed and the circumstances as confronted her i.e. first race at 11am favoured the granting of an injunction as if she ultimately found the Principals actions to be procedurally flawed she can hardly order the rerunning of the maadi cup.

    There were some key aspects in the judgment that led to establishing an arguable case against School.

    1. The Principal made the decision without hearing the students explanation (breach of natural justice)

    2. the Principal has had no regard to other participants egging them on

    3. the Principal has had no consideration of the adequacy of the staffing and supervision at the time and whether this was a contributing factor

    4. There were a range of disciplinary sanctions that could have been considered / applied , referral to the Board on return, detention, suspension barred from formal etc… none of which were considered.

    5. These boys were for some events in Team rowing events so their withdrawal would have a detrimental effect on innocent parties who had dedicated substantial time and effort into training with these boys.

    All in all it reads of an unreasonable high handed egotistical principal (not untypical of a certain ilk) who has taken a my way or the highway approach and the courts have justifiably pulled him up.

    I also read comments by the Secondary Principals Associated President Tom Parsons, (a disgraceful character of the ADHD comments fame earlier in the year) complaining and arguing that parents should respect school decisions and the High Court should not become involved. The High Court through its unlimited jurisdiction has every right to become involved, and I suspect most Judges would take a dim view of such remarks. Further I didn’t hear Parsons et al say schools should respect the Minister of Educations decisions over school closures and other events when they toddle off to the High Court to utilise the Judicial Review process. Typical teaching “do as we say not as we do and we are never wrong about anything even if we are” mentality.


  4. Andrei says:

    Ben I beg to differ

    The principal is appointed to exercise authority over the school and those who appoint him or her do so believing that he or she will exercise that authority wisely.

    If the principal then exceeds that authority or misuses it, then the principal should be replaced but until that time the principal’s authority should be respected by all.

    There seems little doubt in this case that the principle’s actions were actually reasonable and warranted.

    But if the school board doesn’t have faith in his decisions then the matter is in their hand’s as to what to do.


  5. Andrei says:

    Remember this Ben http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11298499?

    It wasn’t so long ago and the individual concerned accepted that he had messed up, took his punishment on the chin and we all moved on


  6. ben says:

    There is a world of difference between a $2000 fine and present situation, and arguably it would have been easier all round if they had just been fined. More comparable would be if Peter Goodfellow had said to Gerry as a consequence of your bringing the National Party into disrepute the National Party Board are going to overrule your running under the national banner in Iliam, I suspect there would be similar path beaten to the High Court.


  7. Richard says:

    Ah – Ben, I see now that your protest appears to have nothing much to do with the issue rather than your own politics.

    I am a former School Trustee- four years. The Principal at the school had some tricky decisions about wayward pupils. And parents. In all cases that the Principal brought to the Trustees (about 5 I recall) the parents were high income earners. i.e. the pupils were spoilt brats.

    Over the years the years my daughter mentioned what had happened to two of these former pupils – their future has not looked good.


  8. Andrei says:

    People mess up Ben – its what we do, whether senior cabinet ministers or school boys. Neither you nor I are exempt from the occasional screw up

    But in these troubled times airport security is something that we take very seriously and breaching it is no minor thing, not even for senior cabinet ministers,

    But if when we stumble we accept our culpability and the consequences of our actions we will be forgiven as has happened for Gerry Brownlee.

    But when we don’t…..

    Actions have consequences my friend and that is a life lesson that these boys need to learn because they wont always have daddy and his money to grant us privileges that would not be extended to brown skinned boys from South Auckland, who as anyone knows would have had the book thrown at them


  9. Dave Kennedy says:

    I was initially supportive of the principal and with my own children generally supported the teacher and the school and taught them to respect authority (or use proper avenues of communication if there is an actual issue). However, Ben makes some interesting points that are worthy of consideration about process, and the severity of the punishment. It does seem as if the school didn’t follow natural justice in how they reached their decision.

    Andrei, I did note that Brownlee’s situation was fully investigated to establish the facts when it appears that it wasn’t the case with the boys. These kind of things are very tricky because it would be easy to think that money and influence changed the boys situation in a way that would not be open to boys whose parents had a less affluent background. But I guess that is generally the way of things anyway (young Maori tend to have convictions for crimes that Pakeha students often escape because it is seen too damaging for their career). http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/Maori%20and%20the%20CJS/Maori%20chapter%2012%202007.pdf

    I guess it always comes down to the transparency and fairness of the process to ensure the best outcomes for all. It does concern me when these things hit the media and not all comments are fully informed. Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears.


  10. Mr E says:

    “Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears.”

    Well said Dave.


  11. ben says:


    “Ah – Ben, I see now that your protest appears to have nothing much to do with the issue rather than your own politics”

    ….and some quite fundamental principles of law just casually.

    Your remarks reflect my point about the inconsistency of standards and quality of BoT governance, the board is ultimately responsible for the decisions made and the Principal acts under delegation of the Board, the fact only five matters came to your attention in four years is rather alarming.


  12. Andrei says:

    “Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears.”

    This is simple, the school gets to decide who represents them in their rowing, just as NZ Cricket gets to decide who took the field today at Eden Park and the New Zealand Rugby Union gets to determine who wears the noble Black Jersey

    And there are several notable cases of players being dropped for misbehavior whilst on tour and not one of them has gone to court to overturn their sporting bodies decision – not one!


  13. Dave Kennedy says:

    Andrei, that is a very authoritarian response 😉 You appear to be supporting a dictatorial management style where there is no ability to question poor decisions. What if the school decided to chose representative teams based on race or the level of parental donations? The school in this case excluded the boys because of their behaviour (perhaps without the full context of the situation known).

    I don’t believe anything like this is that simple especially with young people. As a DP in one school we had a ‘no fighting’ rule and as I was in charge of lunchtime discipline I was once sent two young boys by a young teacher to be punished for fighting. I asked them what the fight was about and was told that they weren’t really fighting they were just play wrestling and neither felt it was an issue, as it was just playing. I am often concerned that we stop boys from being boys and talked to the teacher afterwards about what ‘fighting’ as a discipline issue should mean, but she was adamant that any fighting whether play fighting or a real scrap should be treated the same, “a rule is a rule”. I wonder what it teaches kids when they see rules as nonsense and are forced to always comply to a higher authority regardless? It may result in blind obedience or a disregard for rules, either is not good. Our soldiers in both great wars were known to have a healthy disregard for authority (when necessary) and this seemed to generally serve them well.

    Some of you may know the story about General Montgomery who was offended when some New Zealand soldiers didn’t salute him as he expected but General Freyberg reassured him by explaining that they were actually a friendly lot and if you waved to them they’d generally wave back.

    Authority should also be earned and should be able to be challenged when it is wrong. Although in this instance I am not totally confident that the actions of the principal or the parents were totally in order. I wonder if the parents spoke to the principal first or did they immediately resort to a legal solution?

    Nothing is that simple.


  14. Ray says:

    This is simple, the school gets to decide who represents them
    End of story.
    Hand-wringing words like…”proper avenues…process… natural justice ” just complicate what is a simple discipline issue.

    I did note that Brownlee’s situation was fully investigated to establish the facts when it appears that it wasn’t the case with the boys.
    Are you a complete idiot, Mr Kennedy?
    The facts in both cases were never in dispute. The difference was the Police input.


  15. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ray, thanks for the abuse for looking at wider issues 😉

    “Hand-wringing words like…”proper avenues…process… natural justice ” just complicate what is a simple discipline issue.”

    Sadly that is the sort of attitude that does result in real injustices.

    Taking it to an extreme, as I suggested before, does that include selection based on race or the level of parental funding? I would imagine both are unacceptable, so then stepping it down from that level what would be the threshold for a school’s decision to be questioned?

    It isn’t that simple.


  16. TraceyS says:

    The school should have in place a policy and set of procedures for such incidents and these should be legally sound as well as democratically adopted. This is not only important to ensure everyone (including parents and students) are clear about the framework for dealing with incidents, but also to ensure that managerial decisions are guided in such a way that they don’t land the Board (and ultimately the school) in unnecessarily hot water. Emotionally charged situations, especially, require good clear policy in order to mitigate a tendency be reactionary when put on the spot.

    If this is so, and the Principal has followed such policy, then there should be no problem with the action taken. It is when school ignores their own good policies that problems can develop. A culture where practice deviates markedly from democratically developed and considered policy is a disaster waiting to happen. Whereas, consistently acting within a good policy framework gives a sense of predictability, certainty, and stability – just what children need (and some adults – especially the ones who missed out in their own youth).

    Provided the policy is good, and lawful, and provided it has been followed, the parents of the deviant boys should be debating the policy rather than the Principal’s actions. Clearly it is better if this has occurred before things go wrong; when heads are nice and cool.

    If, as a parent, you have had the opportunity to give input and are, at least, familiar with the school’s policies then there should be no call for Court action. I think it’s an extreme step to go to Court, but then there are obviously more details to be considered than what has appeared in the media.

    While I don’t expect for a minute that any of the finer details will justify the increased shame the inevitable media attention will likely have brought upon the boys, I suspect that either the school’s policy wasn’t consistent with the law or the principal acted outside the Board’s policy. Neither would be acceptable. The parents of the students, or the Board, would have good reason to challenge this. In fact, I would say they have a duty to do so.

    But there are other ways and means.


  17. Dave Kennedy says:

    I agree with you Tracey 🙂


  18. TraceyS says:

    Some of the comments here suggest that parents should but right out of school affairs but that’s not the way it’s supposed to work in NZ.

    If more parents and caregivers got involved at the front end of things then then there’d be fewer problems at the arse end. Same goes for local government. But it is not done very well unfortunately.


  19. TraceyS says:

    Dave – great!

    I normally don’t use them, but in this case, one is justified……:)


  20. TraceyS says:

    Darn it didn’t even work!

    Try again…



  21. Andrei says:

    If St Bede’s is anything like the schools my kids went to Tracey not only will they have a policy but the parents of pupils going away with the school on any sort of trip will have signed a form articulating it and agreeing to adhere to it.

    And I am prepared to bet that this is the case for St Bede’s though I could be wrong


  22. Teletext says:

    I have a query that I have yet to see an answer for.
    If the Police and/or the Airport Authority had decided to lay charges against the boys and they were found guilty, what is the maximum penalty for the offence.
    I know that in some countries it is a severe jail term and I assume that in NZ It could be a term of imprisonment.
    In light of that, what would the parents of the boys have preferred, the sending home or a very black mark on their son’s records?


  23. Dave Kennedy says:

    Teletext, I am certain the boys were thoughtless and acted stupidly, but a jail term for a 16 and 17 year old who were larking around on a baggage system does seem over the top.


  24. Teletext says:

    Dave, certainly the boys were thoughtless and acted stupidly but they still committed a crime and could have been charged and faced very serious consequences which a Cabinet Minister did when he committed the same crime of breaching airport security.
    I don’t recall green party members saying that his act was thoughtless and stupid and he shouldn’t have been punished for it.
    I wasn’t saying that the boys should have been jailed but that this may have been a possible consequence for their actions.
    At what stage do you think that people should be responsible for their actions and face the consequences?


  25. Dave Kennedy says:

    You are putting words into my mouth, Teletext, where did I say that there shouldn’t be consequences for bad behaviour, but let the punishment fit the crime. Brownlee is a mature man in a position of responsibility who deliberately breached airport security for his own convenience and yet you are suggesting prison is a reasonable punishment for boys aged 16 and 17 who were larking around thoughtlessly. Really?


  26. Richard says:

    Board of Trustees, run like companies with Directors. Directors delegate authority to management -the executive. Directors do not interfere or get involved in management The same applies to BoT


  27. ben says:

    Correct, however they are responsible for properly monitoring the management particularly when management are exercising legal functions on their behalf.

    I suggest some of our resident “qc’s” maybe read the judgment



  28. Andrei says:

    I suggest some of our resident “qc’s” maybe read the judgment

    I read the judgment reasons for granting the interim injunction before this post went up Ben.

    And it is an example of legalistic sophistry that people with money can buy to get themselves exemptions to the rules that govern we mere mortals.

    The indisputable facts are

    (1) that these boys, as we now know, signed a document that explicitly stated that violations of the school rules and/or New Zealand law could result in them being removed from the competition and returned to Christchurch.

    (2) And that these boys indisputably violated New Zealand law

    Good lawyering and weasel words have allowed these boys to compete when they otherwise wouldn’t have, with thus far somewhat modest results.

    My guess is that for these boys and their parents this will eventually be revealed to have been a spectacular and expensive own goal


  29. TraceyS says:

    Thanks for posting that, Ben.

    It is as I suspected, the Code of Conduct appeared to give the school complete discretion to send the boys home – which is effectively a suspension. Given that policies need to guide compliance with the law there should have been a supporting procedure to follow which made sure that the Principal’s actions in such a case complied with Section 14 of the Education Act.

    So either that procedure wasn’t adequate or it wasn’t followed.

    What has happened here looks like what I’ve heard called a ‘Good Old Kiwi Stand-down’.

    If Boards don’t know these aren’t OK then they should make it their business to know and to ensure that appropriate measures are in place within their schools to prevent them.


  30. ben says:

    translation you don’t really understand what your talking about so will just draw on the chip on the shoulder bank and blame lawyers and rich people


  31. Andrei says:

    It is as I suspected, the Code of Conduct appeared to give the school complete discretion to send the boys home snip
    So either that procedure wasn’t adequate or it wasn’t followed.

    Wrong Tracey – read the interim injunction again

    What it actually says is that the litigants need to go to court to challenge the schools ruling and that since there isn’t time to do this before the regatta they should be allowed to compete

    I believe the litigants are off to the high court in Christchurch today where the legality of the schools actions will be put to the test.

    However the boys will have already competed


  32. ben says:

    opps above was directed at Andrei,

    @Tracey absolutely! although there was also an argument that there was an implied term in the contract that the school must act reasonably in its decision making


  33. ben says:

    @Andrei wrong (again)

    Judges don’t issue injunctions willy nilly, in order for Her Honour to have issued the injunction she had to meet two tests

    1. That there is a serious case to be tried, she comprehensively established that there was sufficient concern in what the school had done for the parents/students to have a serious case against the school.

    2. That the balance of convenience favours the applicant (the students) which is obvious as if they are ultimately vindicated the consequences of missing the maadi cup are irreversible

    They are not off to the High Court today at all, the Judge has directed the Applications (Parents / Students) have to file their formal Statement of Claim in court to continue the proceeding, this is simply a document of which a draft was already filed for this hearing, this has the effect of continuing the proceedings to a full hearing, once the School files its Defence (30 days from memory), the purpose of this and the threat of otherwise lifting the injunction was to insist the Applicant follow through with its claims otherwise it could simply take the injunction and leave it at that.


  34. TraceyS says:

    Andrei, you ignore the children’s rights under the law and this makes me a little angry.

    I’ll explain why. I spent the best part of two years trying to have one of my children’s rights recognised by his school to eventually be told, point blank, that they could not assure us that he would be safe at his school and I was told to contact the Police. You should have seen my jaw hit the floor! I knew this was contrary to the law and the Principal knew that I would have that knowledge.

    When I returned home, and the numbness wore off, another feeling set in.

    So I said to the school “how would you like to hear from our lawyer?” After two years it was the only avenue left open to us and I was very reluctant to do it. But there was no other choice.

    After that, a whole lot of things started changing for the better. But it was too late. We decided to leave anyway.

    Any school that is so lax of its responsibilities is not worthy of teaching my child.

    This is basic, basic stuff. Not hard to get right.


  35. TraceyS says:

    You need to read it again Andrei.

    The judge has proposed two legal routes as Ben has pointed out. Under one of them, the following section of the Education Act 1989 would apply:

    “14 Principal may stand-down or suspend students

    (1) The principal of a State school may stand-down or suspend a student if satisfied on reasonable grounds that—

    (a) the student’s gross misconduct or continual disobedience is a harmful or dangerous example to other students at the school; or

    (b) because of the student’s behaviour, it is likely that the student, or other students at the school, will be seriously harmed if the student is not stood-down or suspended.”

    Do you think the boys’ behaviour fits either (a) or (b)?

    I do not think that it fits either. But it is the Judge’s decision which legal route(s) are applicable and whether the action taken by the Principal is consistent with that.

    Whether you agree or not, Principals of schools have legal responsibilities stemming from the democratically-made laws of this Country. They can’t make up new rules on the hop and it would be very poor governance for a Board, via whatever tools it has at its disposal, to allow this.

    The school could have avoided this situation. Perhaps every school in NZ should have a “Ben” on their Board?


  36. Andrei says:

    um Ben

    However, I do think the matter should be progressed quickly. The applicants, having asserted the decision is invalid, are directed to file a formal statement of claim by 5.00 pm Wednesday 25 March 2015, failing which the interim injunction will be lifted.

    That would be today old chum, and I understand that the parents intend to “file a formal statement of claim” at the High Court in Christchurch today.

    Sorry you are so bound up in red tape bullshit that every single detail has to be spelled out in gruesome detail.

    Can’t see the wood for the trees I’d say


  37. ben says:

    *sigh* that means emailing a documents called a statement of claim to the Court registrar by 5pm today


  38. Andrei says:

    We are definitely not in Kansas anymore – bye Ben


  39. Ray says:

    Principals of schools have legal responsibilities stemming from the democratically-made laws of this Country.
    So what “democratically-made laws of this Country.” has the Principal broken, pray?.


  40. TraceyS says:

    Maybe none. The Judge may decide that the decision to ‘suspend’ was perfectly legal. Or not.

    Maybe this is not a suspension in the legal sense. But if it is, then it has to follow what the law says.

    There’s no such thing as an informal suspension. Maybe some people don’t realise this. Those in the education industry should though.


  41. Andrei says:

    I’ll play your silly word games Tracey

    It wasn’t a “suspension”.

    See If you can get your head out of the clouds and return to planet reality just for a few minutes OK

    You see if these two dolts had returned to Christchurch as ordered by the school, come Monday Morning they would have joined their 700 or so fellow pupils in the classroom, ie those not in the elite rowing team for which membership is a /privilege not a right.

    And if they are in class with their peers they are not suspended

    Not hard too hard to grasp is it?


  42. TraceyS says:

    Suspension? Maybe, maybe not – that’s for the Judge to decide.

    I think if a pupil has qualified for something then it is indeed a right. Imagine if the right to sit an exam was removed because of bad behaviour the day before. This would not be acceptable would it? I think there are many examples where an exclusion (even within school) are not acceptable. For example, making a pupil sit in the corridor for an extended period.


  43. Ray says:

    So TraceyS. You say “maybe the Principal has not broken any law”.
    and “Suspension? Maybe, maybe not”
    What exactly is your point?


  44. Andrei says:

    Suspension? Maybe, maybe not – that’s for the Judge to decide.

    What a hoot!

    This is never going to go to court to be tested by a judge you dumb bunny,

    Its about an interim injunction that will keep these two clowns competing at a rowing regatta that finishes next weekend.

    After that,,,,,,

    This is a gross abuse of that thing you pompously call “process” to override the school’s authority.

    Alas I fear these repulsive people will use the court processes and delaying tactics to prevent any real action being taken against these boys until after school year is over.

    But I also suspect that pupils from St Bede’s might not be competing at the rowing next year because it is their fellow pupils that are really being crapped upon with this nonsense


  45. RBG says:

    Andrei is correct in that participation at an interschool sports event is not a right. The school probably didn’t want to withdraw 2 of their rowing team, but decided that the boys had to learn that actions have consequences. The consequence for the school was that they had less chance of winning prizes at the rowing. Being able to sit an exam is also not a necessarily a right, you usually have to have completed term work and paid fees and follow all the rules about behaviour in the exam room.


  46. Andrei says:

    The parents of two St Bede’s rowers who took legal action to prevent their sons from being barred from the Maadi Cup have applied for a deadline extension to submit legal documentation and allow the injunction to continue.

    And no sooner had I written what I posted above than I saw this.

    At 4.25pm, the parents’ released a short statement through lawyer Andrew Marsh who said they had applied to the high court for a “short extension”.

    How long do you suppose the “short extension” requested is Tracey?

    Alas we are not told


  47. RBG says:

    Best not to call TraceyS names Andrei, because now she will avoid debating the issue and write about the insult she has suffered, possibly for months on end if past form is anything to go on.


  48. TraceyS says:

    Andrei you are being disingenuously selective. From your same link I draw your attention to:

    “We have been in discussions with the school and have applied to the court for a short extension of time to file the statement of claim to allow those discussions to continue,” the statement said.

    That’s good.

    They’re trying to sort things out with the school through discussion. This is how a lot of legal disputes are sorted out and it normally attracts no attention at all.


  49. TraceyS says:

    RBG, if past form is anything to go by in your next comment you will chastise yourself for being off-topic.

    I’m really lookin’ forward to that!


  50. RBG says:

    ??? Past form?? Examples??


  51. TraceyS says:


    “Andrei is correct in that participation at an interschool sports event is not a right.”

    Correction, Andrei thinks he is right, but may not be…

    From the ODT Editorial:
    “…the judge granted the injunction because if the boys were banned from competing it was arguable they could not be adequately compensated for the opportunities they had lost if it was later found the school made the wrong decision.”

    I think that is a very strong hint that there are rights involved here. If it were just a matter of a discretionary privilege being withheld from the boys then why would there be any mention of “compensat[ion]” or “loss”?

    Sports are part of a student’s physical education and PE is part of the school curriculum. Competing in an inter-school sports event may be regarded by some as a reward or privilege but it is more than that. I see it similarly to a student being able to sit a test or exam. If they did some errant thing a few days before the exam it would be unacceptable to withdraw, as punishment, the opportunity to take the exam. Especially when other suitable disciplinary options exist.

    Withdrawing the opportunity to compete could be seen as excluding students from an educational opportunity that they have the right to be involved in.

    I shall wait for the outcome with interest and an open mind. I am not a fan (it is probably obvious) of excluding children from opportunities as a way of punishment. Partly, this is because I have seen it fail spectacularly with very sad consequences. There are more creative ways that schools can deal with these issues other than the knee-jerk one of “you’re going home!”


  52. Andrei says:

    Correction, Andrei thinks he is right, but may not be…

    All you are doing in indulging yourself with sophistry TraceyS

    There is no “right” or “wrong”.

    Either the school can hold their pupils accountable under the code of conduct they have signed or they can’t.

    As for rowing – well most kids in New Zealand never get the opportunity to mess about in boats on Lake Karapiro and thats a fact.

    There’s no one from Porirua College there swanning about in the autumnal sunshine on the lakeshore, all that schools pupils are in their classrooms today.

    And that might be “unfair” as well because when it comes down to it life is “unfair” – very unfair at times.

    And perhaps an example of unfairness might be that poor kids will be held accountable under signed contracts ie Codes of Conduct, while rich kids with access to fancy lawyers can evade their responsibilities under them.


  53. Andrei says:

    Oh and by the way TraceyS most of us during our school days and in latter life as well have the receipients victims of unjust and unfair treatment

    And witnessed examples of it for other people.

    And on the scale of injustices in this world being withdrawn from an elite rowing competition as a punishment for bringing your school into disrepute by illegal behaviour does not seem to me to rate very high


  54. TraceyS says:

    I don’t think anyone is questioning whether a school can hold their pupils accountable under the code of conduct.

    It is how they are to be held accountable that is in question. Parents have every right to question this.


  55. TraceyS says:

    “Oh and by the way TraceyS most of us during our school days and in latter life as well have the receipients victims of unjust and unfair treatment”

    And some of that is gone from the system – like caning children until they bled. I am glad my children don’t have to fear this when they go to school.

    How it was rid from the school system I do not care. That it has been is a triumph.

    Maybe it was because parents and others questioned it?


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