Neighbours of a Bay primary school are disgusted barbed wire has been put on the boundary fence of their properties, saying the area now looks like a "prisoner-of-war camp".
But the school's principal defends the decision and says she is protecting her school and students.
The barbed wire, attached to wooden stakes that are attached to the fence, has been up about a week and runs along the rear of Tahatai Coast School, bordering onto Suffolk Close and Checketts Place.
Suffolk Close residents Sandra and John Horne told the Bay of Plenty Times the real estate agent who sold the couple their home had told them the fence devalued their property.
The barbed wire runs along the top of the fence at the couple's front garden and dog-legs around to another neighbour's home to do the same.
"To me it looks like a gang pad headquarters or a prisoner-of-war camp. It's supposed to be a school," Ms Horne said.
Young teenagers regularly jumped the fence but have never been a problem, Ms Horne said.
"There's the odd kid that goes across there maybe during the weekend. They're just doing what kids do."
Ms Horne said she had warned some children to stay away from the fence, fearful they could get hurt.
"I'm really concerned about it. I don't want to see a kid get their hand ripped up."
Another Suffolk Close resident said she was unhappy she had not been notified and was also concerned the barbed wire would devalue her home.
"It makes us look like we are drug dealers or something but we aren't," said the woman, who spoke on condition she was not identified.
"We are not happy about it. It just wasn't very neighbourly. We put up with a lot from the school, noisy kids and rubbish coming through. They could have asked."
But Tahatai Coast School principal Jenny Griggs said the fence would remain.
"The youth of Papamoa have been using the back area of the school field as a place to conduct unsavoury activity such as consuming alcohol, taking drugs and there has been inappropriate behaviour."
Mrs Griggs said drug syringes, viles and alcoholic pre-mix cans were regularly found in the area. "The other reason we went ahead with the fence was because we have had a number of break-ins, and the exit into Checketts Place has been their getaway route.
"It's school property and we are entitled to do that."
While Mrs Griggs agreed the fence was "certainly not aesthetically attractive" it offered the school and neighbouring properties extra security.
However, in hindsight the school could have consulted with neighbours, Mrs Griggs said.
Legally, most property owners are required to consult with their neighbours if they are planning to erect a fence.
However, a Tauranga City Council spokeswoman said the school could erect almost any fence it liked without resource consent under the local City Plan, so long as it was under 2m and the construction of it was safe.