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English undermines school for political gain

1 May 2006

English undermines school for political gain

Bill English has misrepresented a highly sensitive situation involving the bail conditions of a college student, says Education Minister Steve Maharey.

"Mr English's actions have put the school and the affected families in an extremely difficult position," says Steve Maharey.

"The fact that he identified the school in his press statement, and provided details about the individual student, is likely to have been in breach of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act.

"Mr English's suggestion that the school could be forced to take the student is bizarre. At no time has this ever been a posibility.

"The bail conditions make it unequivocally clear that the student will not be returning to the school.

"The price of Mr English's action is that the school and the families involved have had this issue running in the media for the last 24 hours.

"As a result the Board of Trustees has had to take the extraordinary step of calling a meeting this morning to consider how they can clarify the situation to the community and families.

"Everyone involved is very clear about their responsibilities, including the police, the school and the Ministry of Education.

"Despite these facts Mr English has done his best to make political capital out of what is a very sensitive issue and has done this without checking the facts.

"He could have contacted my office at any time for a full update on the situation but has not done so. Instead he chose to go directly to the media and inflame an already difficult situation."

ENDS

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