Sunday, April 14, 2024

College shuts down misinformation on social media

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Pakuranga College has hit back at misinformation being peddled on social media today.

Pakuranga College has issued a statement denouncing misinformation in viral social media posts today suggesting the school had expelled a student who was preaching the gospel on a school field during Thursday’s lunch hour.

The posts also, wrongly, claim the students were being denied freedom of speech.

The school said no one has been expelled and the students were simply being asked to go to ask to go to class.

Principal Michael Williams said in a statement today, “Pakuranga College is aware of misinformation and highly selective footage spreading on social media about an incident at the college yesterday, including speculation that a student was expelled and that staff shut down free speech.

“This simply isn’t true. The student who instigated the religious gathering has not been expelled or suspended. We did ask that their parents collect them from the college yesterday and will be speaking with them further regarding the matter.”

Williams said the gathering initially started during the lunch break but continued into class time.

“Staff were simply trying to ensure that students attended class, where they were meant to be, amidst a challenging situation. Some students did not take the opportunity to return to class and we will be addressing this truancy when school returns. We have rules about attending class, not to impugn free speech, but to ensure students are in class receiving their education.

“Staff moved to wind up the gathering at the warning bell. It was raining heavily, and students should have been moving off the field to more sheltered areas and to class at this time.

“As this occurred on the last day of term, the process for dealing with this incident hasn’t started, and won’t until school resumes. I met with the student and their parents on Thursday afternoon and explained that the incident would be looked into at the start of term and that would involve the school reviewing what happened and making a decision about the next step. I assured the family that I would be meeting with them at the start of the term if not sooner to discuss the matter further.”

Williams said it was made clear to the family that the incident may lead to disciplinary action and that suspension is a possibility. It was also explained what a suspension is – in simple terms, that it would be referred to the College Board to make a decision about the student’s future and that it is a serious step and can result in students being expelled.

“I spoke with the student’s father again and reiterated the steps in the process as people were posting incorrect information on social media. At this stage no decision has been made, this will be done when the incident is reviewed.”

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