Schools doing checks to get around crim-protecting NZEI

Education Minister Hekia Parata says there are more checks in place now than when Robert Burrett was able to move from school to school, and the rules for teachers could now be extended to other staff in schools, including caretakers and bus drivers.

Fifteen years ago, Stephen Parry was Board Chair at Te Kuiti’s Pukenui School.

They tried firing Robert Burrett as Deputy Principal after claims of incompetence and drinking on the job.

But the NZEI union defended Burrett, who finally left the school following mediation and a confidential payout.

“The Union perhaps needs to ask itself why — if they knew what they did back in 2001 in terms of his inability or inappropriateness to teach — he was allowed to continue on in that role,” says Mr Parry.

While there was no evidence of inappropriate contact with children, he says the union was left in no doubt that Burrett was not fit to continue teaching.

The union is complicit in the harming of every victim by that piece of trash.  

Education Minister Hekia Parata says in recent years the Government has strengthened the system.

It’s now mandatory for schools to report any teacher or principal who has been sacked, resigned, or left under a cloud. And anyone working with young children is now required to go through a police vetting process.

She’s now looking at whether other staff like caretakers and even school bus drivers should be under closer scrutiny.

“So I’ve asked the Ministry and the Education Council to investigate extending their powers to all people who work with kids in ECE and in schools,” says Ms Parata.

There’s no timeframe for that decision, but a full ministerial inquiry has been ruled out.

There is one glaring hole that remains.

The mandatory reporting of staff who are thought to be involved in breaking the law, especially when it comes to the physical and mental safety of minors.

It is taking too long for the system to spit these bastards out.

Yes, there need to be safeguards against false accusations and revenge, but setting up a robust system that can ascertain if children are at risk has to be preferable to letting the rogue teacher continue to offend until everyone is ‘sure enough’.

Great step in the right direction. Don’t stop now.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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