A school in the South Island has acknowledged school rugby players were involved in a sex act that was filmed and shared on social media.
Members of a secondary school’s top rugby team acted on a dare and engaged in a sex act, which was filmed and shared on social media.
The incident at a private booze-fuelled party, which followed the South Island-based 1st XV team’s win over a rival in May, is said to have caused immense embarrassment and distress to those involved.
Authorities say it emphasises the dangers of posting videos online where they can be shared quickly and widely.
Police are aware of the incident, but have not received a formal complaint from anyone about it.
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Stuff repeatedly sought comment from school management after learning about the video, but they did not respond.
However, in a message to parents this week, the principal shared details of the incident, which had caused “great embarrassment to all involved”.
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“During a private social event, some boys acted on a dare, which was filmed. The video was shared widely… As you can imagine, this has been very distressing for the boys and their families.”
The principal said there were “immediate and serious concerns” for the wellbeing of those involved, which meant it was not appropriate to contact parents in the wider school community about the incident earlier.
“Our primary and ongoing priority has been these boys and their wellbeing. We had serious concerns around the impact of any news media coverage, social media sharing and community gossip. We continue to hold concerns about the effects of sharing and discussing this short moment in the boys’ young lives by their peers and the wider community.
“I want to make sure you are aware that appropriate support has been provided to the boys since the incident occurred. All involved have reflected on how they conducted themselves. We can all make mistakes, especially teenagers, but what is important is how we learn from those mistakes.”
Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said the incident served as a reminder to young people that once a video was uploaded online, it could spread rapidly via social media.
“A moment of thoughtlessness leads to a very long time causing harm.’’
Cocker said in most cases removing the offending video promptly was “critical to harm reduction”.
“The quicker people know, and they take action, the more likely that harm would be reduced.”
He said that included acknowledging the video existed and making a plan for its removal, but noted “sometimes the circumstances call for secrecy”.
“Normally the best approach is to get on the front foot.”