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Principals Should Use Osh Legislation Over Sars

Principals Should Use Osh Legislation Over Sars

New Zealand First education spokesperson Brian Donnelly has slated Ministry of Education officials for their position regarding the exclusion of students from schools as a protection against the spread of SARS.

“The Ministry has looked no further than the Education Act and has come up with a position which is narrow, legalistic and hypocritical,” said Mr Donnelly.

“The Ministry has focused on a fine point of law in the Education Act and ignored the safety of students.

“What the Ministry is saying is that by law parents must send their children for 190 days a year to potentially unsafe places. The very nature of schools means that they are incubators for any diseases passed by contact.

“It is hypocritical for the Ministry to take such a legalistic position when it is currently ignoring the law regarding attendance, where its own responsibilities lie.

New Zealand First’s advice to boards and principals is to ignore the Ministry’s dictates and to focus on their responsibilities under the Occupation Health and Safety legislation. Under that legislation they are required to minimise risks, “ said Mr Donnelly.

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