Trustee quits Wind­ley board over ‘bul­ly­ing’

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

A board of trustees mem­ber has re­signed in the wake of claims from par­ents that there is a cul­ture of bul­ly­ing at Wind­ley School.

Lepeti Tea quit on Septem­ber 9. She says she re­signed be­cause she felt threat­ened and had been ver­bally abused in pub­lic by a former Wind­ley board mem­ber. She did not wish to com­ment fur­ther.

A group of par­ents con­fronted the school board about bul­ly­ing at an Au­gust 24 meet­ing, tabling two let­ters. A copy of one of these let­ters, which was signed by 29 par­ents, has since been pro­vided to Kapi-Mana News.

It cen­tred on the par­ents’ anger that Wind­ley had sought the re­moval of pub­lic health nurse Apolo­nia Mul­drock.

The par­ent group claimed Ms Mul­drock was not re­moved for per­for­mance rea­sons, and that cor­rect le­gal pro­ce­dures were not fol­lowed.

Par­ents also felt they should have been con­sulted on the em­ploy­ment mat­ter, and re­quested an ur­gent meet­ing with the board.

The let­ter also ex­pressed con­cern that there was a cul­ture of bul­ly­ing at the school, al­leg­ing that par­ents who worked at the school had en­dured sus­tained in­tim­i­da­tion.

The par­ent group also al­leged a con­flict of in­ter­est due to the per­sonal friend­ships of board chair­woman Vanessa John­son, prin- cipal Ju­dith Woot­ton and board mem­ber Kim Wil­lis.

In a writ­ten state­ment, Ms John­son said boards of trustees did not em­ploy or dis­miss pub­lic health nurses. She de­clined to com­ment on spe­cific em­ploy­ment is­sues.

She said there were no con­flicts of in­ter­est, and the board worked hard to build pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships with fam­i­lies.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Re­view Of­fice (ERO) raised con­cerns in its 2009 re­port that the prin­ci­pal was not ap­praised in 2008, and nei­ther she nor the deputy prin­ci­pal were ap­praised in 2007.

The ERO also rec­om­mended that the school im­ple­ment pro­grammes to com­bat racist bul­ly­ing, bul­ly­ing of stu­dents with spe­cial needs, ho­mo­pho­bic bul­ly­ing, and sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

How­ever, the same re­port ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the board could man­age the school in the in­ter­ests of pupils, and said the prin­ci­pal pro­vided strong, well-fo­cused ed­u­ca­tional lead­er­ship.

An­other ERO re­view is sched­uled for term one 2012, but an ERO spokesper­son said that if the of­fice re­ceived com­plaints about a school, it could con­duct a spe­cial early re­view.

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