By PHILIP CHANDLER
Five Wakatipu High students were recently expelled from a backcountry school camp due to disgusting acts including ejaculating, urinating and sprinkling their pubic hair over a fellow student’s sleeping bag and pillow.
They were all on the Year 10 ‘rite-of-passage’ Branches Camp which had a record 200-plus students this year.
Principal Steve Hall, who calls the incident ‘‘pretty disappointing’’, won’t discuss the miscreants’ behaviour.
‘‘We are talking about young folks, so I’m not going to go into details.
‘‘It feels hard to understand.’’
The victim, whose sleeping gear was allegedly soiled, wasn’t present, Hall confirms.
He denies it amounts to bullying ‘‘because this was these guys’ friend’’, and it wasn’t ongoing behaviour.
He expands in a second interview: ‘‘Due to the nature of this event, we would not characterise this as bullying.’’
But it was very unsavoury behaviour?
‘‘I would agree with that but, speaking in generalities, not everything that happens bad in the world is bullying.’’
Is he appalled?
Hall: ‘‘It was very serious and we took it seriously and we responded seriously.
‘‘We removed some students immediately, we investigated, and some other students were removed.
‘‘Some were brought out specifically, others were brought out with transport
movements that were already happening.’’
As of Tuesday, four students had been through disciplinary processes, with one still ongoing.
Again, Hall won’t go into details, ‘‘but there have been disciplinary outcomes’’.
He says police weren’t called but notes one cop was in camp to take the students for shooting practice.
Asked if the victim was offered counselling, he says ‘‘he carried on with the camp’’.
Overall, Hall says the 12-day camp, which broke up Tuesday, went ‘‘really well’’.
‘‘It’s a long period of time and there’s all weathers and all activities, but in general our students have been absolutely fantastic.’’