Earlier in the week the school was informed from several sources that a number of students were planning a social boxing match at the North Plaza Pitch, and that this was being advertised on social media including instagram with a roster and advice such as ‘don’t wear your school uniform’. Upon hearing this report we took the view that such an occasion would not be a safe or appropriate activity for students; it was set to occur outside of the jurisdiction of a licensed boxing organisation, without adult supervision, and away from the normal protections that might be afforded in a reputable martial arts gym e.g. first aid, risk assessment, planned access to emergency support, etc.
We therefore contacted students and parents in the relevant year groups and made it clear that we did not view this as an appropriate activity and asked students to stay away. On Tuesday afternoon the school received information that a group had gathered on the North Plaza beach and that rounds of boxing were occurring. This information came from around five different sources, one of which (a member of the public) indicated that they had called the police. A social media feed of the event was also brought to our attention. Staff from the college went to the beach and took the names of the students and asked them to leave. While the majority of the students were observers, it became clear that very few parents were aware that their children were present at an event of this nature.
While we do acknowledge that different families have different expectations of what is acceptable, from the school’s perspective, an event of this nature, without first aid on site or the presence of appropriate adult supervision from qualified professionals, is a highly risky enterprise that we would not support. Our own risk assessment procedures would not allow this to occur as a school event under any circumstances as the risk level is too high. The fact that this event also appeared on social media also has the potential to reflect badly on these young people in the future as they head to further education and employment. It also reflects badly on our whole school as it was obvious to everyone that they were DC students, given the early closure Staff CPD afternoon, and that some students were wearing DC uniform. Some students were taking part in the boxing, while others were watching; but we would regard all as being participants as all present share a responsibility for what takes place and for the safety of everyone involved.
Consequently, we remain concerned that this event took place. We want our young people to be safe in their activities, and for those who have an interest in martial arts / similar sports there are many opportunities in Hong Kong for these activities to be pursued in the appropriate, regulated environment with the appropriate licensure and access to medical support and qualified adult personnel.
At the Parent Information Fair held a couple of weeks ago, the College Leadership Team addressed a large number of parents around how teachers and parents hold a joint responsibility around the care, safety and growth of our students. This discussion was under the annual target this year of Living Our Vision whereby all community members appreciate and model the phrase, “With privilege comes responsibility.” We discussed how we could enhance our culture such that all community members take responsibility for each other, recognising their interdependence, the importance of international mindedness, and the significance of their actions in relation to other people.
We are very grateful for the overwhelmingly supportive responses from the parents of the students involved. DC makes no apologies in taking a proactive stance around issues such as this, and hope that you, our partner parents, will continue to support our efforts.