Racial brawl at Gold Coast school?

The headline reads:

‘Racial brawl at Gold Coast school

Students said there had been tension between New Zealand and white students for months.”

This story describing a ‘racial brawl’, as ‘racial tensions exploded’ appeared today in the Gold Coast Bulletin and is now featured on goldcoast.com.au, news.com.au and The Australian. Oddly the only people interviewed that in any way inferred that the conflict was race related were students at the school.

Now while race baiting is a sure fire path to a captivating headline I’m fairly sure that ‘New Zealander’ isn’t a racial designation.

The ABC have also covered the story, but under the headline

‘Teachers and students hurt in car park fight’

The ABC article states that Education Queensland’s Regional Director Glen Hoppner says the fight was not racially motivated.

 We have nothing to indicate that whatsoever,” Mr Hoppner said.

“We work well with the Pacific Islander community up there – it’s great.”

Mr Hoppner says counselling has been offered to members of the school community.”

The goldcoast.com.au website shows the original post was updated at 9.40am EST to include the above quotes as well:

But the input of Education Queensland’s Regional Director Glen Hoppner hasn’t yet made it’s way to news.com.au,

or The Australian.

While the print edition of The Gold Coast Bulletin doesn’t provide comment from Mr Hoppner, but does helpfully advise that

More than 40 per cent of the 2600 students at the Upper Coomera State College are of Maori descent.”

It’s uncertain how much racial division contributed to the incident, however it’s difficult to understand how the  reporting we’ve seen so far can do anything other than incite racial division, whether already present or not.

It’s even more difficult to see how the News Limited staff could not foresee this.

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