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Trevor Mallard Feeling Heat On School Closures

Hon Bill English MP
National Party Education Spokesman

04 December 2003

Trevor Mallard feeling heat on school closures

"The Education Ministry is treating parents like idiots with a letter that claims children could be left with 'psychological damage' if they attend protests over school closures," says National Party Education spokesman Bill English.

The letter was sent to parents in South Canterbury ahead of a meeting on Tuesday night which attracted 1500 people.

It came after a heated meeting on the West Coast where Trevor Mallard said he thinks it is "absolutely irresponsible" to involve children in protest action.

"Parents are quite capable of deciding themselves how to ensure the psychological safety of their children," says Mr English.

"It goes to show there is no limit to the Government's instinct for central control over parents choices and decisions.

"Trevor Mallard can't deny his role in the Ministry's expression of his view, after that earlier meeting in the Gray Valley," Mr English says.

"It's clear that this is a Minister feeling the heat from parental and community pressure.

"He should be more concerned about the psychological impact on children of closing well established and successful schools and forcing them to be educated elsewhere against their wishes," says Mr English.

Ends

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