Mt Albert Grammar students ‘not required’ for last day of school after fireworks prank

Year 13 students involved in a fireworks prank gone wrong at a top Auckland school are not allowed to return for their last day on Monday before exam leave.

Videos have emerged on social media showing what appears to be a student shooting fireworks on the grounds of Mt Albert Grammar before being chased and tackled to the ground. It was part of the annual “prank day”.

“Young people need to learn that a prank in some people’s eyes is vandalism and damage in another person’s eyes,” MAGS headmaster Patrick Drumm said.

In an earlier email to parents, Drumm said Year 13 students were not required to attend on Monday “following a day that has severely stretched our resources”.

Since then, Drumm told the Herald about 15 students had been identified as taking part in the pranks so while they will stay home, the rest of the 500 students who were in Year 13 could return for their final day.

“It’s a hard, hard lesson for these young people because we have a school ball on Tuesday and this group won’t be attending, which will be very sad for them but it was signposted leading up to this end-of-the-year time,” Drumm said.

The Herald understands a barbecue scheduled to be held on Monday would also be off-limits to those involved.

The decision prompted a social media protest, where students are hoping to “stick it to MAGS” and where they have also shared videos of the firework incident.

“Senior leaders have requested that MAGS Y13 stay home on our planned last day of November 9,” one post on an Instagram account says.

“We should follow suit of 2018 leavers and return to school on Monday, and take back our last day.”

In 2018, the school decided to ban its final-year students from attending their last full day of classes to avoid pranks.

Drumm said at the time he did not want any “silly stuff” from students and assured that security would be beefed up.

However, a day after the ban the students got their wish, and around 150 of them were ushered on to a playing field where they chanted, “We got robbed.”

They also fired water pistols and threw eggs into a large crowd of younger students who had gathered to watch the fun. Some boys wore girls’ uniforms and vice versa.

In Friday’s email, Drumm says he is looking forward to the senior prizegiving which is set to take place on Tuesday next week.

“I look forward to seeing all prizewinners in the FW Gamble Hall to recognise and celebrate their successes,” he says.

“With regard to the issue of the tickets for the MAGS 2020 Leavers Ball, a separate letter will be sent on Monday to all Ball attendees that will outline the expectations of both the School and the Ball venue regarding this event.”

Elsewhere, the end-of-school prank at Christchurch Boys’ High School could have had “tragic consequences”, the headmaster says.

A group of Year 13 students at CBHS chased and hurled water balloons and eggs at two Year 11 students just before 1pm on Wednesday.

The stunt resulted in one of the boys being chased on to a road outside the school, where a vehicle ran over his foot. Another student was assaulted, headmaster Nic Hill said.

Hill said it was lucky nobody was seriously injured and he was “appalled” by the “disrespectful” behaviour.

“We are fortunate not to be facing tragic consequences,” Hill said in an email to parents and caregivers on Wednesday.

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