Police probe footage of students' park fight

JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 05:00 01/11/2012

Warning: Contains violence, course language. Students from at least three Hamilton High Schools were involved in fights at Jansen Park which were captured on video and posted to YouTube. This video has been edited from the original with faces blurred.

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Police are investigating after fights between Hamilton high school students at a public park were filmed and the footage posted on YouTube.

And the mother of one of the girls who was allegedly bashed says the violence is "disgusting" and serious action needs to be taken.

The footage was taken on a digital camera or cellphone, of students from Hillcrest High and at least two other secondary schools brawling at Jansen Park, Silverdale, on Monday afternoon.

The video starts with one girl in mufti clothing straddling and punching a girl in uniform on the ground, who is screaming at her to get off.

A large crowd of young people circles the pair and spurs them on.

The camera turns to where a girl is pulling another girl's hair, and later shoves her in the face.

Halfway through the video two boys erupt into a brawl and a number of others can be seen filming it.

The boys exchange kicks to the body and haymaker punches to the head in a short, but fiery, scuffle.

Onlookers can be heard urging them to keep fighting even after one appears to be hurt.

One comment on the video, which is 2:13 long and has been viewed almost 700 times, said the "good part" or "the main fight" wasn't shown in the footage.

Another said: "Meanest rumble at Janson (-: HHS Kids rule no one messes with them." (sic)

One of the Hillcrest High girls targeted in the attack, but who does not feature in the video, said she was punched multiple times in the face, kicked and had her hair pulled.

"They organise it with everyone and then they bring heaps of people and smash the one person," said the 14-year-old, whom the Times agreed not to name.

"I just stood there and didn't hit back."

Her mother has since removed her from the school.

"I just think what happened was disgusting and that school has got a lot to answer for."

Hillcrest High principal Kelvin Whiting said he was tipped off that something was brewing at Jansen Park on Monday and staff were sent there after school to keep watch.

They spent up to 20 minutes at the park before returning to school for meetings, and that was when fighting erupted, he said.

He has seen the video and was investigating the incident with the help of police.

"We can't be all places, everywhere. It happened well and truly after school.

"No school, Hillcrest or anybody else, wants issues or incidents [like this] to happen. You deal with those issues when they arise."

Hamilton Police tactical coordinator, senior sergeant Freda Grace said police would take action against the offenders if there was sufficient evidence.

This could include referral to Youth Aid, family group conferences and, in extreme cases, criminal charges.

She said cyber bullying and organised fighting occurred occasionally, but was not unique to Hamilton.

Waikato University senior lecturer of psychology Dr Neville Robertson said students would film school fights and post them online out of a desire to be "visible".

He said the presence of cameras and a crowd could potentially escalate the violence, but it could also make those involved more conscious of their actions.

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- Waikato Times

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