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Suspension rate a disgrace

20 April 2005

Suspension rate a disgrace

A minor decrease in school suspensions in the last year is nothing to crow about, the Green Party says.

"The Government shouldn't be celebrating the fact that almost 5,000 kids were suspended last year," Green Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei said. "Rather, these figures indicate that the Education Ministry is still allowing far too many of our troubled young people to be kicked out of school for spurious reasons.

"Schools are under-resourced and unable to provide adequate behavioural measures to keep kids in schools. As a result, too many students are suspended for ridiculous reasons utterly irrelevant to education, such as uniform infringements and haircuts.

"Young people suspended and excluded from school are left isolated, angry and vulnerable to negative social influences. Everyone agrees they should be kept within a supportive and structured education system wherever possible. This rate of suspensions is a disgrace for all of us."

Suspensions were often unjustly imposed without a proper process, as required by the Education Act 1989, Mrs Turei said.

"The Ministry is failing to ensure that schools are operating in accordance with the principles of natural justice when they suspend kids, meaning that kids are unjustly suspended and parents have nowhere to go to get their young person back into school."

Mrs Turei has a Private Member's Bill in the ballot which would establish a School Review Authority to which parents, young people, teachers and schools could have decisions about suspensions, stand downs and exclusions reviewed, and which could make binding decisions.


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