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Slack Attitudes Failing Truant Children

25th August 2002

Slack Attitudes Failing Truant Children

Slack attitudes to school attendance is leading directly to children committing serious crimes, says National Party Leader Bill English, commenting on the Choy murder case.

"The official attitude too often seems to be that it is someone else's job to make sure children attend school. 13 year old Bailey Junior Kuariki, convicted of manslaughter yesterday, had not been attending school for nearly a year. When children are allowed to be persistently absent it is no surprise some of them will end up in serious trouble.

"In the first place it is the responsibility of parents to make sure their children attend school. But when the parents are negligent education and welfare authorities should be enforcing the law.

"It shouldn't be a helpless situation. There are a large number of people outside the mainstream education system who have the skills and commitment to deal with troubled children. These individuals and charitable organisations deserve more support from the Government, to ensure every child gets an education and no child is left behind.

"We can't afford to turn truants into tyrants by failing children who fall between the cracks," said Mr English.

Ends

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