Assault claim against kura teacher

By Mike Dinsdale

A Whangarei Maori immersion school is staying mum on allegations a teacher is being investigated for allegedly physically assaulting up to 10 children.

The Northern Advocate has been contacted by several parents who have children at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Rawhiti Roa, in Tikipunga, alleging that a teacher at the kura had assaulted children.

One parent, who did not want to be named, alleged her daughter was assaulted by the teacher, and said a meeting had been held with the school and the parents of up to nine other children over the matter last week.

Another parent who, again, did not want to be named, said the alleged assaults were now common knowledge among parents after last week's meeting.

However, she was concerned that only a few parents were at last week's meeting, and felt all parents who had children taught by the teacher should have been informed.

"It may be that other kids have [allegedly] been assaulted by the teacher, but if we as parents don't know we can't talk to our kids to find out if that's been the case," the mother said.

"I think there's been a bit of a cover-up and, as a parent, I've got a right to know that these allegations have been made against my child's teacher so I can talk to my child about it."

The woman said there was to be a meeting at the school on Wednesday where the teacher was to apologise to parents for the way the children had allegedly been treated. She said she understood the teacher may have been suspended while the kura looked into the matter.

Kura principal Meri George declined to discuss the issue with the Northern Advocate when contacted.

Ms George said if the parents who contacted the paper were not named to her she would not talk about any allegations they were making.

She would not confirm if a meeting to discuss allegations of a teacher physically assaulting children had been held, if the school was investigating such allegations or if there was a meeting at the school on Wednesday to discuss it.

A Ministry of Education spokesman said it was not aware of allegations of a teacher abusing children at the kura. The spokesman said the kura was legally responsible for ensuring students' health and safety and concerns should be taken up with the board of trustees.

- Northern Advocate

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