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National supports hard line on parents of truants

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

12 October 2006

National supports hard line on parents of truants

The National Party supports calls today for more pressure on the parents of repeat truants.

Taupo Truancy Officer Kelly Te Heu Heu says parents should be financially penalised if their children consistently skip school.

Mr English says it’s time to focus on strengthening parents’ rights and responsibilities when it comes to the education of their children.

“The link between persistent truancy and criminal offending is strong. Schools and truancy officers work hard to keep kids in school but the buck has to stop with parents.

“Labour has adopted National’s policy of prosecuting parents of truants but the threshold for prosecution is too high. The Minister should look into docking family support payments where parents have been clearly negligent.

“If parents rip off the tax or benefit system, they have to pay it back with penalties. The penalties should be at least as tough when they rip off their own children’s future.

“Children benefit when their parents are involved in their education and suffer when they turn a blind eye to achievement and attendance.

“Parents should be rewarded for being active in education by having increased access to information and choice but they must also face the consequences if they fail in their legal responsibility to ensure their child is at school,” says Mr English.

ENDS

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