Pupils in strife for fiery antics
A group of St Bede's College students have been punished for their fiery antics in Twizel during the Maadi Cup rowing regatta.
About eight students, who were competing in the rowing competition, will spend their holidays doing community service in the small Mackenzie Country town after setting tennis balls and a road on fire last week.
Rector Justin Boyle confirmed that the incident, believed to have taken place on Monday or Tuesday, involved the 15 and 16-year-old students, who were part of a team of about 70 rowers competing from the school.
They were staying at a rented house under the supervision of an adult but had still managed to get themselves into mischief.
"They have not done themselves or the school proud at all."
The boys had doused tennis balls in petrol before lighting them and throwing them, Boyle said.
They also poured out the letters "SBC" in petrol on a road and then lit it. The letters stand for "St Bede's Crew".
The group had not been stood down from the school but were barred from social events at the end of the week-long rowing event.
They were also ordered to do community service work in Twizel during their school holidays.
The police were aware of the incident but did not take the matter further.
"[The boys] made apologies to the owners of the house and police and have written letters."
The students stayed on to compete at the cup, but Boyle was happy they had been dealt with appropriately.
The parent who was in charge of the boys was "mortified", he said. The antics could have gone "woefully wrong" if the fires had spread.
"The way rowing runs at St Bede's is that it relies on the goodwill of a lot of good people including parents who the boys know they have all let down."