Naked children shock pool mum

Last updated 01:14 11/09/2008

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Onlookers at Jellie Park got an unexpected strip show from a Catholic school's new-entrants class.

A mother who was at the Christchurch City Council-run aquatic centre in Burnside on Tuesday complained to Jellie Park staff, and the St Bernadette's Primary School class was told to use the changing-rooms in future.

The mother, who did not want to be named, said she was appalled by the school's actions.

"I'm not a prude or anything but I just think it is an odd thing to make kids do," she said.

"If the parents of those kids knew they were being paraded nude in front of the public at a swimming pool, they would be horrified.

"I just can't understand why they wouldn't use changing-rooms. That's what they're there for.

"If they haven't got enough teachers to supervise them getting changed, have they got enough to supervise them in the pool?"

St Bernadette's principal, Maureen Moore, said the school would co-operate with the request from Jellie Park.

"I went over today and spoke to them," she said yesterday. "They told us we can't do it and that's the end of it."

She said the class of 15 five-year-olds had only one teacher, so they changed beside the pool after swimming so she could keep an eye on them.

"We don't see it as a big deal. It was purely for safety reasons, Moore said.

"I understand someone wasn't happy, so we will stop it.

"I think it's been blown out of proportion. Put it this way: it wasn't children running around naked."

The class will have its last learn-to-swim class today at Jellie Park.

City council western area recreation manager Simon Battrick said it was not normal practice for people to get changed alongside the pool, and the school had been told this.

"Our lifeguards were watching the water, so didn't see what was happening," he said.

"But we've now had a chat with the school and made sure they have better systems in place."

Battrick said it was not something that happened regularly at council pools.

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- The Press

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