Con­sta­ble on look­out for tru­ants

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NICKI DAVID­SON

The law states go­ing to school is com­pul­sory for New Zealand cit­i­zens and res­i­dents aged six to 16 and par­ents are re­spon­si­ble for their reg­u­lar at­ten­dance, but there are still chil­dren in Mata­mata who tru­ant.

Con­sta­ble Bruce War­ren­der, Youth Aid Of­fi­cer for Mata­mata, checks the area each school day and said re­sults can vary. ‘‘Some days I don’t see any while other days there are a few more. It can de­pend on what is hap­pen­ing at school and on the weather.’’

In the three years he has been do­ing the job in Mata­mata, Mr War­ren­der said there had been two pros­e­cu­tions of par­ents for their chil­dren’s tru­ancy. ‘‘ We aren’t talk­ing about chil­dren who are sick or at­tend­ing a tangi or fu­neral, but un­ex­plained ab­sences,’’ he said.

To ad­dress reg­u­lar tru­ancy, a pro­gramme called Re­duce Our Com­mu­nity Kids Of­fend­ing Now or Rock On was first set up by Hamil­ton po­lice in 2003 and is now widely used.

‘‘It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach be­tween the po­lice, schools, lo­cal iwi, the health board, min­istry of ed­u­ca­tion and other agen­cies like Child Youth and Fam­ily, and we meet once a month dur­ing school terms,’’ he said.

Par­ents can now be li­able for fines of up to $ 300 for first of­fences and up to $3000 for sec­ond or sub­se­quent of­fences in re­la­tion to their child’s ir­reg­u­lar at­ten­dance at school.

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