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Minister fails to understand parent concerns

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

13 November 2007

Minister fails to understand parent concerns

Chris Carter should stop defending the indefensible and just admit his Ministry failed to offer basic advice to the board of trustees at Hato Paoro College to take serious sex abuse allegations against the principal straight to the police, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

“While emphasising how ‘sensitive’ and ‘serious’ the situation was for parents and students, Chris Carter then went on to defend why not one official saw fit to mention the obvious solution.

“In attacking National for raising the issue, Mr Carter seems blithely out of touch with what the majority of parents, teachers, and the general public might think.

“Parents take issues like these extremely seriously. They would be horrified to learn that his Ministry could fail to advise the school board that such serious allegations should be handed to the appropriate authorities to be dealt with by people with specialist knowledge.

“When it comes to issues relating to serious and complex complaints about sexual abuse by a principal, the Ministry should advise boards that it’s not their role or expertise to play Miss Marple.

“It’s hard to believe that after months of giving advice to the school, not one Ministry official thought to suggest that the police might be the best authority to investigate the sex abuse allegations.”

ENDS

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