Trustee quits Windley board over ‘bullying’
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.