Students walk out of Hamilton high school over principal's truancy comments

by RNZ / 24 September, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - youth

Fraser High students, after walking out of school over comments made by the principal. Photo / Andrew McRae

More than 100 students walked out of a Hamilton high school this morning in protest after the principal said truants are more likely to wind up being a rape victim.

Principal Virginia Crawford told a Fraser High School assembly last week that truants were also more likely to go to prison and commit or be a victim of domestic violence.

She said the more a student was truant, the more likely they will end up a statistic.

The students filed out of the school and up the drive to the road just before 10am.

They spent the next 40 minutes hanging around in groups on either side of the street.

Some students said they felt strongly that the principal had used language that probably was too strong and not appropriate for schoolchildren.

One student, Sih Hunia, said many of those protesting just wanted to stand up for themselves.

He said Ms Crawford should have toned down her comments.

Seventeen-year-old Lauese Faaosofia was with the group who left the school grounds but he was against the protest.

"It just makes the school look bad."

He was critical of some of those who came out on to the road were smoking and going down to neighbouring shops.

"She (the principal) was trying to give us the message not to wag.

"These kids here now, year 9, they don't even know what they are here for.

"I support her message," he said.

But another student, Nohinohi Rolliston, was not happy with the principal's comments.

"The way she put it, put everyone down and made everybody angry."

The year 9 student said that at the same time, the comments rang true.

"Wagging is going to cause a lot of shit in life for us young ones.

"If she had explained it in our way for us young ones to understand then we would have been on her side."

Adam, who is a Year 12, said Ms Crawford pointed out the statistics but did it in an insensitive way.

"Not the right place or the right time to bring up like rape for a lot of people, all these insecure teenagers going through a rough time.

"As you are growing up you are going through so many changes and it is hard to comprehend.

"You don't tell people they are hopeless and there is just no hope," he said.

The school, which has a roll of about 1500, has made no comment on this morning's protest.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

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