A Taranaki school board is to voluntarily stand down to allow a commissioner to take over and deal with behaviour problems.
There has been a surge in the number of suspensions at Manukorihi Intermediate School in Waitara, from about six annually to 28 last year.
The school board paid for a professional assessment of the problem and trustees decided to stand down after a verbal report was delivered this week.
Board chair Jonathan Marshall says disobedient behaviour has spread from a small group of pupils, including some involved in a spate of arsons in Waitara last year.
Mr Marshall says some parents undermine behaviour standards and the school faces pressures from outside, including gang activity.
He says a commissioner will work more quickly than a board of inexperienced volunteers.