24 Sep 2008

School brawl condemned

8:20 am on 24 September 2008

Police have condemned a mass brawl involving up to 200 school students in the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere.

Two officers were injured and seven students arrested in the fight which broke out on Tuesday afternoon.

One of the students was said to have been armed with a chain.

At one stage, every available officer in Hastings, Havelock North and Flaxmere was at the scene by 4pm.

Seven students aged between 13 and 15 have been arrested.

One, aged 14, will appear in Hastings Youth Court on Wednesday charged with assaulting police.

Another six will be referred to Youth Aid charged with disorderly behaviour.

Police want the names of the schools involved kept secret, as their investigations into the fight begin.

However, The New Zealand Herald reports they were rival schools, Hastings Boys High and Flaxmere College.

Acting Senior Sergeant Cory Ubels says the fight stemmed from an incident on Monday afternoon between the same bunch of students.

He says officers did have pepper spray but did not use it for fear of escalating the situation and had no time to don protective gear.

Small group blamed

The principal of one of the schools involved says a small group of students were behind the incident.

Hastings Boy's High headmaster Rod Sturch told Morning Report that it stemmed from what he called a group of idiots.