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School Drug Problems Increase In Bay Of Plenty

Tuesday 7 May 2002

Suspensions in the Bay of Plenty haven't dropped under the Education Minister's `Suspension Reduction Initiative' and drug problems have got even worse, ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata revealed today.

"The suspension rate for the Bay of Plenty has remained alarmingly high: eleven children out of every thousand got suspended in 2001, the same as 2000. The national rate is seven children out of every thousand.

"The suspension figures show there is a drug problem in Bay of Plenty schools, and it has gotten worse since Trevor Mallard took over as Education Minister. Of the 536 children suspended from Bay of Plenty schools last year, 194 were in trouble for drug offences.

"The Government is trumpeting reduced suspension numbers for Gisborne. Yet Gisborne hasn't had the biggest problem: those areas are Northland and Bay of Plenty.

"Kids from Bay of Plenty aren't any naughtier than any other children in the country. Their over-burdened teachers deserve more support from the Minister. He must implement a comprehensive campaign tackling the real issues facing Bay of Plenty, if we are to solve this problem," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

Complete suspension and stand down figures are available on the ACT New Zealand website at http://www.act.org.nz (http://www.act.org.nz)

Ends

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