Northwood head: “consequences for parent” after bad behaviour video goes viral

In a letter to parents, Northwood headmaster Paul Viljoen mentioned that he apologised for the incident that occurred after the u16A match at Kearsney on 30/04/2022, captured in a series of videos that went viral on social media.

At some point every school, no matter how well run it is or how good it’s disciple record may be, has or will be directly linked to an event of this magnitude. Like in this case, there will is a strong indication that the school is in no way responsible.  Nevertheless how the school responds to the crisis, speaks volumes about its commitment to promoting good conduct. Well done to the Northwood management for setting an example of how to act in the face of adversity.

15 Comments

  1. Looked like the Kearsney tighthead was having a word with the ref before Dad stepped in for some reason. I watched most of the game on superrugby and it looked like a very close and charged game. I think the scuffles carried on after the video ended. Unfortunate as there was some great play on the field.

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  2. @Henkies: Hi Henkies. So glad you could follow the action without commenting on the camera work :-D . The SuperSport Pixellot AI camera was used. Honestly I think its hopeless. Seen it in action at Maritzburg College, Hilton, Grey High and now Kearsney. Very difficult to make out what’s happening on the far side of the field or in the near corners. Every time the ball gets kicked out of hand, the camera AI logic gets confused, so does not follow the ball. Hopeless. But beggars can’t be choosers I suppose.

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  3. Parents who want to achieve thru there kids what they couldn’t achieve in there life’s, makes schoolboy rugby bad. Let the kids play. Emphasize to your kids only to be fit to prevent injuries.

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  4. @beet: I agree Beet. We have had a couple of games now with this format, and originally I thought it was a Gr 8 from the school photography club learning the ropes on filming. It was only this weekend that I figured it must be either some form of remote operation, or an AI type setup – which you have now confirmed. It also doesn’t show conversion kicks or penalties. Needs a lot of work, but, as you say, its better than nothing.

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  5. Very difficult situation for any principal to have to deal with…Mr Viljoen responded correctly…i.e. immediately, in writing to school community and wider schools rugby community, to Kearsney, also good that he outlines the true ethos they are trying to uphold. Good example of how to manage what could turn into a PR nightmare with reputational damage. Ironically, how Northwood handle this could improve their reputation. Now fortunately, although this incident is unacceptable, especially since it’s a parent shoving a student – nonetheless it really could have been worse, and in spite of some media reports it wasn’t a big brawl by any means. It wasn’t even a small brawl – it was not a brawl at all. It was a melee, some pushing and threatening, of course not in good taste and unacceptable.

    Although I feel the parent involved must be called in and disciplined, I would urge Mr Viljoen and Northwood to NOT go too far…the “punishment must fit the crime”. I feel he could be ‘banned’ for several games, but don’t ban him forever, and be careful that the sanctions are not humiliating – I feel sorry for the child, he is going to endure this humiliation.

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  6. @Kaya 85: Anything less than the parent being banned forever from any school sporting event would be a slap on the wrist. Think about what happened, a grown man put his hands on someone else’s child on school grounds? That is assault if the parents of that child wanted to pursue a case. No one knows whether he has anger issues or whether this was once off behavior or whether it might happen again so for the safety of other kids, he shouldn’t be allowed at any schools sports event.

    Unfortunately there’s also the racial component to the whole incident(white parent manhandled a black child). So unless Northwood wants the EFF at its door, it needs to deal decisively with this issue.

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  7. To cover the incident. This is what I was told may have triggered it:
    1. The school clock showed time left. Matches are always blown according to the referee’s watch not a school clock. The ref must have told the players at it was the last move. Play was nearer the Kearsney tryline with Kearsney 2-points ahead.
    2. The ref made a fundamental error. After the last play started, a Kearsney player throw the ball into touch to end the match. This should have been a penalty to Northwood. Instead the final whistle was blown.
    It can across that the referee (who has a ton of experience) was unsighted so did not see what the player had done to award the penalty. So it was down to human error. He apologised after the match. Obviously too late to undo the action.
    The Kearsney player seen walking near the referee in the video is the captain of the team and was trying to shield the referee.
    From there a lot of the focus is on the adult who acted inappropriately. However the behaviour of the players is something the schools need to address. The permitted conduct has been building up to an event like this. Schoolboys are taught the value of respect from Mondays to Fridays but on Saturday, they are allowed to chirp the referee throughout their matches and the only time is seems like they are being remanded by their coaches is when their team suffers via being penalised or marched back 10m. Too often the boys cannot look to their coaches / sideline staff for an example of how to treat the referees, as these guys can be just as bad, if not worse at having a go at the referees.

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  8. @beet: So true Beet. If the boys see what parents and coaches are doing, it is bound to affect their behaviour at some point.

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  9. @Kaya 85: unfortunately what happened on Saturday was bound to happen. I attended Northwood fixtures against another school a few weeks ago and the behaviour of the parents was concerning. The one match was at u15B level (hardly a life or death game) and the level of aggression shown by the NW parents towards the ref and opposition players was concerning. NW eventually won with the last move of the game and the ref was probably the most relieved. Parents should remember that any ref below A side is usually a teacher doing the job because it’s required of him or he enjoys it. Things then got a lot worse in the 2nd XV game with a NW boy eventually shown a red card for dissent and swearing by a Society ref. If parents are behaving like that, then boys think it’s pl as well. NW has taken responsibility for this and rightly so….but the signs of it happening were there for a while

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  10. @ICEMAN: Things like this leaves a bad taste in my mouth ….never do or say something next to the pitch that will be embarrassing to your child ….those parents should be banned from all school sport ,and if they want to take their children out of the school….I don’t think they’ll be missed

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  11. @Henkies: @Henkies: He was actually shielding the ref who was surrounded by, getting screamed at and possibly manhandled by the Northwood boys (I could not see the ‘manhandling’ but have heard so). It will be good if Northwood publicly share what they will do about this – and not let it slide…

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