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NZ parents condemn school-organised 'planking' competition

A school in Rotorua is organising the contest in a bid to teach children how to plank responsibly – to parental disgust.

A man planks on a street in Shenyang, China. A New Zealand school has been criticised for organising a planking competition for its students.
A man planks on a street in Shenyang, China. A New Zealand school has been criticised for organising a planking competition for its students.
Image: Sun xiumin/AP

A SECONDARY SCHOOL in the New Zealand city of Rotorua has denied suggestions that it is acting irresponsibly by organising a ‘planking’ competition.

The principal of Rotorua Intermediate School says the contest – featuring the controversial internet-led phenomenon – was intended to show children that they could engage in the bizarre offline meme without risking their safety.

‘Planking’ is a phenomenon where people lie vertically flat, face down, on top of outdoor furniture such as signposts or fences. It came to worldwide prominence when one Australian 20-year-old, trying to ‘plank’ on a seventh-floor balcony, fell and died from his injuries.

An “official” Planking page on Facebook had been ‘liked’ by around 140,000 people at the time of the Australian tragedy – but that number has now risen to over 334,000 as the habit gains further international attention.

NZ parents condemn school-organised 'planking' competition
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The dangers of the phenomenon have inspired the school to try and adopt it into a formal and safe setting – but has inspired ire among many parents who cannot understand why the school would actively promote the behaviour.

But Garry de Thierry, the school’s principal, has defended the initiative.

“It’s about showing [students] you can take part in a craze, but you can do it safely,” he told the New Zealand Herald. “We’re trying to teach kids they can still have fun without the risk.”

He added: “The kids are really enjoying it.”

Do you think the school-run planking contest is a good idea?


Poll Results:

Yes (143)
No (91)
I don't know (29)



About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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