Bullying claims deemed ‘untrue and unfounded’

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Waitaki Boys’ High School’s board of trustees chairman is denying bullying claims that have appeared on a Facebook page.

Facebook page Oamaru TODAY received a large number of claims of alleged bullying at the school.

These comments were prompted by a closed meeting held between the board of trustees and the Ministry of Education on Tuesday night.

Board chairman Garry McLeod said he had heard there were allegations on Facebook but, as he had not seen them, he was not willing to comment.

“A lot of the information to me is untrue and unfounded,” he said.

Bullying had not been a major problem at the school, Mr McLeod said, and the meeting was held to discuss the Ministry of Education’s concern at the number of suspensions that occurred at the school during term one.

He could not recall the number of suspensions or whether any were a result of bullying.

The meeting had been scheduled since the end of term one and involved a constructive and cordial discussion on a range of topics involving the school and its students, he said.

Mr McLeod said he did not think there were any major problems at Waitaki Boys’ High School and the reputation of the school remained intact.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive comments about the school.”

He said the board would also be initiating an employment disciplinary process following a report received from the rector regarding an alleged incident of a serious nature involving a senior teacher at the school.

Mr McLeod would not comment further but said they would be beginning the employment disciplinary process as soon as possible.

Oamaru TODAY creator Allan Dick said he had made two posts about the meeting but deleted comments from the first one, as they had got out of hand.

He said the second post had been more balanced and the comments seemed to be more reasoned and justified.

“I’ve deleted ones that I thought were absolutely over the top,” Mr Dick said.

He said the debate needed to be reopened because of the level of activity on the first post.

“I have got to say that I was absolutely surprised at the level of anger and concern that there was,” Mr Dick said.

Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the meeting was held to discuss concerns about student management and complaints received from the school community.

“The board acknowledged the concerns that were raised and welcomed the Ministry’s offer of support,” she said.

“We will continue to work with the school until the issues are resolved to the satisfaction of parents and the wider school community.”

The school is also scheduled for a review by the Education Review Office in term three.

School rector Paul Jackson was in Dunedin yesterday and unavailable for comment at the time the Oamaru Mail went to print.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

TROUBLES DENIED: Claims of bullying at Waitaki Boys’ High School are being denied.