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Smith congratulates police on truancy prosecution

Nick Smith National Education Spokesperson

1 July 2003

Smith congratulates police on truancy prosecution

National Education Spokesperson Nick Smith has congratulated the Tokoroa police for successfully prosecuting a mother for failing to enrol her 15-year-old daughter at school.

"This girl was not at school for almost a year. There must come a point when society says to parents enough is enough. Far too often schools, police and communities turn a blind eye to long-term truancy, and as a consequence we have thousands of children not at school.

"I congratulate the police for tackling long-term truancy. It would be easier for police to make a priority of other crime but taking on truancy is some of the best crime prevention work our police can do.

"I would much rather a child and their parent was facing truancy charges than waiting for a serious crime to be committed and the child facing murder or manslaughter charges, as occurred with long-term truants involved in the killing of Michael Choy and Ken Piggott.

"The Ministry of Education and Child Youth and Family are ignoring the problem. I commend the police in Tokoroa for taking it seriously and hope other police districts will follow suit.

"Schools can competently deal with students who bunk the odd class. My worry is the thousands of children like this girl, who have been not going to school for long periods of time," Dr Smith said.


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