3 Mar 2009

Stabbing represents loss of innocence for schools - PPTA

7:38 pm on 3 March 2009

A stabbing at an Auckland college represents a loss of innocence for New Zealand schools, the Secondary Teachers Union says.

Police have charged a 17-year-old international student with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after a teacher was stabbed at Avondale College on Tuesday.

David Warren, 49, was attacked while writing on a whiteboard during a Japanese class at the college. He has been discharged from hospital.

The PPTA Principals Council says there have been a few incidents over the years in which teachers have been injured by students.

However, council chairperson Graeme McCann says Tuesday's attack has another dimension, because it happened within what he calls the sanctity of the classroom.

Mr McCann says teachers throughout New Zealand will be concerned about the incident at Avondale College.

The Education Union says schools are facing increasing numbers of disruptive and violent students.

NZEI president Frances Nelson says many principals will be concerned they could potentially face a similar situation at their schools.

Ms Nelson says New Zealand schools would not like to follow the example of schools overseas where students are routinely searched - but that is what may eventuate.

Prime Minister John Key says he is shocked and concerned by the incident and the Government will provide any support to the school that is needed.

Previous incident at college

It is not the first time Avondale College has been linked with a stabbing.

In October 2006, Manaola Kaumeafaiva, 14, was stabbed to death at a church dance outside the school.

Petani Fa'avae was convicted of murder at the age of 17, with police calling the incident a random act of fatal violence.