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Pupils picking on neighbour

DANIELLE STREET
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013
Bigwood
NO BALL: Kathy Bigwood says children from a neighbouring school have targeted her home with tennis balls and mud pies.

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The summer holidays will be a welcome respite for one woman who says her schoolyard neighbours are pushing the boundaries.

Kathy Bigwood works from her Kohimarama home as a marriage celebrant and is fed up with pupils from St Thomas's School throwing things into her property.

The final straw was when a child hurled tennis balls at Ms Bigwood and a neighbour while they were chatting.

"If he had hit either of us there would be some very serious repercussions, but he thought it was a joke and ran away laughing," she says.

"You can't have bullying like that by children in your own backyard.

"Because the next thing is that those are the hooligans of tomorrow who think it's OK to intrude and invade."

It is not the first time her property has been targeted by students from the decile 10 primary.

In September her home was subjected to some literal mud-slinging.

"I was working in the office and I heard the splats and by the time I was outside they were gone because as soon as they see me move they run," she says.

Her house, windows and terraced garden were coated in big blobs of mud.

"I was furious and it was a wettish day and I had to be going somewhere."

She contacted the principal Michael Maher who offered to send the caretaker over to clean it up.

"I don't want the caretaker to clean it up," she says.

"I want the children to not do it."

She says she has also been verbally abused by the children. Ms Bigwood says since upgrading her backyard about 18 months ago, pupils climb on her fence every day to peer into her property.

While she is not particularly bothered by the fence-climbing she says the situation has escalated to the point where it is "a bit out of control".

She believes her home is targeted because it borders the school but is far enough away from the school buildings that staff can't easily see what is going on.

She has contacted Mr Maher several times to try and resolve the issue and says she's disappointed the school hasn't acted.

"I would like it to be out of bounds so the kids don't come and climb the fences and throw things," she says.

"I don't like the disrespect. If the parents of the children there knew what they were behaving like, they would be horrified."

Mr Maher says the school has high expectations of students' interactions with the community.

He says "by and large" the expectations are met.

"We have many neighbours and we work with them all to manage the interface between a busy school of 800 children and our neighbours, and we will continue to do so," he says.

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- East And Bays Courier

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