Complaints arising out of bullying at Hutt Valley High School in December 2007
The investigation was triggered by various specific complaints from a group of parents at the School, led by David Rutherford. The complaints were prompted by the School’s refusal to retract a public statement made about it having handled the incidents reasonably and responsibly. The investigation covers how the incidents were handled by the School, Child Youth and Family (part of the Ministry of Social Development), the Education Review Office, and the Ministry of Education.
A chronology of events is appended to the report.
The investigation involved analysis of extensive paperwork, as well as written consultation and meetings with the agencies subject to the complaints. Police were also consulted, and their documentation surrounding the incidents examined. Police are not subject to the Ombudsmen Act 1975. Their actions were not the subject of complaint though they were relevant to the actions under investigation and I have taken them into account in forming my views.
This report analyses the background to the incidents, the incidents themselves and agency responses to them dealing with these in the order of the 18 specific complaints addressed to the agencies concerned. It makes three overarching recommendations to assist in avoiding similar situations in the future.