3 March 2006
School under siege
Politicians and media should call off the witch hunt
Teachers and students at Bayfield High School are feeling the pressure of the continuing media and political witch hunt of former associate education minister David Benson Pope, PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said today.
She said staff and students were being hounded by reporters and the school had received more than 400 media enquiries. The school also had to remove a photographer from the premises.
“The staff and students are upset by it all and student learning is likely to be negatively affected.”
Mrs Te Whaiti said every teacher in the country was likely to be affected by the feeding frenzy and abuse seen this week in parliament.
“I think everyone is tired of this spectacle. How is it that politicians can be so keen to ensure teachers behave yet behave so abusively towards each other?
There’ll be no winners if the witch hunt extends to other former teachers in the House.”
Mrs Te Whaiti said there were plenty of genuine and pressing educational issues that needed politicians’ attention: teacher workload, shortages of key specialists in science, maths and technology, and the difficulties of recruiting graduates to the profession in a political environment increasingly scathing of the work of schools and teachers.