West Auckland youth worker and founder of Warrior Kids, Tim Tipene, says the Kumar tragedy was preventable and calls for health units to be set up in schools to avoid it happening again.
“It is unacceptable that the Kumar family had to experience this loss, it is unacceptable that shop owners and everyday New Zealanders have to live with the threat of violence, it is unacceptable that there are children in need being overlooked and who end up becoming violent offenders,” Mr Tipene says.
“Right now there are kids out there exactly the same as the two boys involved in the death of Mr Kumar. Kids with the same story, same background and with the potential to make the same mistake. We need to intervene and stop this from happening again.
“Prevention is the key to addressing the violence in our communities. We need health units in every school throughout New Zealand where children and families can get direct assistance, health units that provide weekly life-skills education geared to developing socially and emotionally competent New Zealanders,” Mr Tipene says.
Units that focus on the mental health and wellbeing of every student and pay special attention to those most at risk are what’s needed, he says.
“If the government was at all serious about addressing the alarming rate of child abuse in our country and stopping violent acts such as that with Arun Kumar, then they would be putting a lot more funding into prevention. We need to reach these kids at the top of the cliff, not the bottom.”