Around 100 students from Christchurch Girls ‘High School leading a protest against sexual harassment were turned back by police and their principal on their way to their target – Christchurch Boys’ High.
Students began to demonstrate during their lunch break on Thursday.
It comes after a social media fight erupted this week when chalk graffiti highlighting LGBTQIA + rights, feminism and sexual harassment appeared on the walls and sidewalks of Christchurch Boys’ High on Monday.
Thing understands that the graffiti was affixed by students of Christchurch Girls’ High.
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Instagram accounts linked to school students have been trading since barbs.
A student linked to Christchurch Girls ‘High School has asked students who have been sexually assaulted by students at the boys’ school to come forward.
Do you know more? Email: [email protected]
An account using the initials of CBHS created in response had the caption: “This account refers to allegations without evidence. Nobody cares about your false claims ”.
He used hashtags such as “feminismiscancer” and “mensrightsactivist”.
On Thursday, protesting students carried banners with slogans like “our bodies are not your talk”, “my abuser got a second chance”, “no more excuses, dismantle the rape culture” and “boys will be boys ”, with crossed boys and“ responsible ”written in its place.
Police were called to the school as students took to the streets on their way to Christchurch Boys’ High.
They were followed by a police car, but were stopped when a second police car came about 100 meters down the road. Principal Christine O’Neill also got into her car to arrest the students.
O’Neill said she was aware of the protest, but concerns were raised last week regarding gender-based violence.
“It was really important to encourage students to talk about it, and there is no point in distinguishing boys’ schools individually. It is important to tackle global systemic issues.
Police were called as a precaution, O’Neill said. She did not tolerate the group of students who left the site.
“My main concern is for their safety – that they are going back to school where they are supposed to be, and that they understand that there are appropriate and constructive ways to effect social change.
“So that they learn this because they are young.”
She said there were adequate means within the school for the students to express themselves, but that they could still continue to work there.
Phil Newton, police youth and community relations manager, said the students were arrested “because of traffic and safety concerns.”
They were a short distance from the school when they were asked to turn back.
A parent at Christchurch Girls’ High, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was “sad” and “disappointing” that the students were being silenced.
It was important that their voices were not muffled, she said.
“It would be nice to have their freedom of speech.”
Christchurch Boys’ High School principal Nic Hill said he was aware of the protest.
“I have no comment on this other than that the two schools are working closely with our students on the issues,” he said.
Monday’s chalk statements also targeted Hill, saying he “protects bullies” and telling him to “control your boys.”
Tabby Besley, chief executive of InsideOut, a national organization that helps improve the safety of Rainbow youth, said the graffiti was a “clear call for support” from these students.