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Government already penalises parents of truants

Government already penalises parents of truants

Comments on Radio New Zealand today from a Taupo truancy officer suggesting parents of persistent truants should be prosecuted are surprising, given this is current government policy, and is actively enforced by the Ministry of Education and many District Truancy Services, says Education Minister Steve Maharey.

"The government is absolutely committed to all children going to school, " Steve Maharey said.

"Under the Education Act 1989, school Boards of Trustees are able to draw upon prosecution powers, and can work with the Ministry of Education or their local District Truancy Service to carry out non-attendance prosecutions.

"I urge schools to use this where appropriate. It is the law that all children must be in school until they are sixteen."

"Programmes run in South Auckland, the Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa to assist schools dealing with truancy have resulted in over 50 percent of students whose parents have been prosecuted returning to regular attendance. Many other students returned to schools once the threat of prosecution was raised."

He said he was less surprised by a statement from Bill English calling for the already existing policy to be introduced. "Mr English should spend some time getting up to speed on current education policy."

ENDS

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