School calls in advisers

FLORENCE KERR
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2014

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A Taumarunui School board which angered parents when they didn't tell them a former teacher was facing sex charges, have now employed an independent consultant to review how they handled the situation.

The turn-around comes after the Waikato Times reported that parents and staff were not informed by the Turaki School board about the charges former teacher David Ballantyne faced.

The school at the time defended their decision after following advice given to them from the New Zealand School Trustees Association.

Ballantyne told the Times earlier this week that he did not offend against any children at the school or any other school.

A letter from Turaki School principal, Rikki Sheterline on behalf of the school's board, sent home on Thursday informed parents that the Ministry of Education's Traumatic Incident Team were assisting staff and students.

"Staff have been advised to be especially vigilant and aware of changes in student behaviour so that appropriate support can be provided to students," Mr Sheterline wrote in the letter.

The board of trustees have also engaged an independent consultant to review the school's handling of the process around Mr Ballantyne's resignation.

A father informed of the charges by the Times, said the move to bring in the appropriate support was "late" but he did say the school was "moving in the right direction".

"It's not right that these services have only been brought in because of the pressure put on Turaki.

"In saying that though, it's never too late to do the right thing.

"I hope that every school in New Zealand sees that when something like this happens, you have to make sure that you cater to the children, parents and staff first, not try and protect the reputation," the father said. 

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- Waikato Times

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