School calls 9-year-old's father who erected anti-bullying sign outside Christchurch school a 'nuisance'
A dad has used a large sign outside Christchurch's Waimairi School to protest after his 9-year-old daughter was repeatedly assaulted by classmates.
He expected an apology.
Instead, a father who put an anti-bullying sign outside Christchurch's Waimairi School has been called "a nuisance" by its lawyer and threatened with police action.
The man removed the 1.8-metre sign on Wednesday evening, but said he anticipated putting it back to protest the physical assaults and humiliation his 9-year-old daughter endured.
"It was really heating up. The [emails] from the lawyers were coming bang, bang, bang [Wednesday] afternoon.
"I was hoping it [the sign] would cause the school to wake up and realise, 'he's not going to stop until we take action'."
The man, who cannot be named without identifying his daughter, was dissatisfied with Waimairi School's response after his daughter was repeatedly kicked, punched, bitten and choked by other students over 18 months.
One email from the school's lawyer, David Beck, to the father's lawyer, read: "Your client has turned up outside school with a sign causing a nuisance [and] has been on to The Press – if you can counsel him to desist further it would help."
Another said: "Our client [Waimairi School] is reluctant to have any confrontation, but they will get the police involved if he continues."
The father said his daughter spent multiple lunchtimes a week in restorative justice-style meetings with her bullies months after he asked them to stop.
He considered taking his daughter out of the school, but her mother did not want to.
Waimairi School board of trustees chairman Cory Bedford said the father was yet to lodge a formal complaint with the board. That would be the next step if disputes with the school could not be resolved.
Bedford said he offered to meet the man in March but the meeting never happened.
He said the school was investigating the father's claims, but declined to comment further, citing the child's privacy.
Most parents spoken to on Thursday morning supported Waimairi School and principal Mike Anderson.
"I've never met a principal who is more passionate in his stance against bullying," one mother said.
Another parent said when her children had issues in the past, they were dealt with quickly.
A father of two girls at the school said, while the sign may not have been the best way to address the problem, "if nothing was being done, maybe it was the only way".
The father of the bullied 9-year-old said he was "overwhelmed" by the public support for his sign, which included "three or four" messages from parents at the school whose children had been bullied.
"One woman was at the end of her wits with kids at the school who have been bullied so much that she hates going to school," he said.