Waitaki teacher under scrutiny

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014

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An alleged incident of a "serious nature" involving a senior teacher at Waitaki Boys' High School is to be investigated by the school's board of trustees.

A report on the allegations was tabled by school rector Paul Jackson at a board meeting on Tuesday.

Ministry of Education representatives were also at the meeting, to discuss a second issue - the number of student suspensions.

The public was excluded from the meeting for the two discussions.

Board of trustees chairman Garry McLeod said an investigation into the alleged incident was set to take place.

"The board will be initiating an employment disciplinary process regarding this incident. No further comment can be made until this process has been completed."

Ministry of Education Otago-Southland manager Kathryn Palmer and senior adviser Lynn McKinney discussed concerns about the number of student suspensions at the school during term one.

McLeod did not know the exact number of suspensions, but said he had sat in on "two or three" hearings.

"The board of trustees takes very seriously its role in disciplining students.

"We don't like to see any student stood down or suspended but the school is keen that students display good behaviour, especially towards teachers," he said.

McLeod described the meeting as "constructive and cordial".

Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the meeting was a positive exercise.

"The meeting was very constructive. The board acknowledged the concerns that were raised [by the school community] and welcomed the ministry's offer of support.

"We will continue to work with the school until the issues are resolved to the satisfaction of parents and the wider school community.

"The school is also scheduled for review by the Education Review Office in term three. As part of its normal review process, ERO reviews the general wellbeing of students and staff, as well as a school's process for managing complaints."

Principal Paul Jackson was unable to be contacted for further comment.

Oamaru police Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said police have not received a complaint regarding the alleged incident involving the senior teacher.

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- The Timaru Herald

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