Salisbury School

The Green Party is pleased that Salisbury school for girls with learning disabilities is to remain open for at least another year. We are not attacking other schools or their capacity to keep young people safe from abuse. We are also not the champions of residential schools as a long term model for disabled students. We want safe and effective inclusion of all students in all aspects of the education system. However, we believe that the existence of a single sex residential centre with strong community outreach which empowers girls with learning disabilities has a role to play in the meantime while we work to change the world.

The Green Party is horrified by the sexual abuse statistics relating to young people and children in this country. The abuse rates are bad for girls and boys generally but it is worse for disabled children. There is significant international research that shows that girls with learning disabilities are up to seven times more likely to suffer abuse than non-disabled children of the same age. It has been estimated that 40% of the girls who enrol in their school have already been abused by males in their home environment prior to their enrolment. Sexual abuse can have compounding consequences if victims do not get the right help early on. Salisbury work with these young women to help them regain some confidence and self-determination and a sense of their bodies being their own. This is vital as the loss of personal bodily integrity makes young women very vulnerable, not to any particular group of boys or men but to the world as it is.

Therefore, we think the High Court was correct in stating that the Minister of Education did not take their safety into account. This is not to denigrate Halswell School or any other possible model. I read the testimonies of young women and their families about the value of Salisbury to their ability to participate in community as self-determining citizens. Their lives will work better for the experience Salisbury offers.

Critics of the model need to be heard as well, the old special school model did have a whiff of the ghetto. We need inclusion, but it won’t work for all students without the proper resourcing of support staff and specialists. We have not achieved inclusion until we centrally fund support staff and change attitudes, and that cannot be delayed. In the meantime Salisbury has some time to prove the value that they have to a group of young women from all over the country who can benefit from the experience.

This is not a simple issue. The ability to be honest about sexual abuse and power is often lacking in the debate. And once again the ability of the Minister and the Ministry to listen has been called into question. School closures impact on communities of all kinds and the Minister cannot expect to get away with shallow judgements of risk and value for the education of young people.

40 thoughts on “Salisbury School

  1. Children with learning difficulties can benefit from being integrated into normal schools, and normal kids can benefit from them being there too.

    But there is a point for some children where this approach is detrimental for both them and the non-disabled kids.

    So it is a matter of balancing the situation.

    Unlike normal schools where there can be large benefits for children by combining resources, Salisbury was a different matter altogether.

    There is a clear need for some schools like Salisbury, and there is a very strong argeument for keeping it open, and a very weak one (if there was any at all) from the Minister for closing it.

    She should admit the mistake, give parents and students a long term assurance of it staying open, and move on.

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  2. Photonz1, we rarely agree on matters educational, however here i totally support your comments. Well said.

    I must also agree with the Green party’s view that Parata’s Ministerial position should be in question. This is just another in a series of backdowns where it has been shown her decisions have not been safe. When children are involved we need a Minister of Education who ensures that they are well informed and can make decisions that are balanced and place children’s needs before purely fiscal considerations.

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  3. “A leading academic says the Government is right to close Salisbury School and claims that intellectually disabled girls could be vulnerable to sexual assaults were “archaic scaremongering”. But a Massey education specialist, Dr Jude MacArthur, said that view was at odds with the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

    “To portray young men with intellectual disabilities as sexually deviant and ‘predating’ on girls is inaccurate, damaging and archaic,” she said.
    “This just perpetuates negative stereotypes of disabled people and contributes further to their marginalisation in society.”

    Something for you and your supporters to reflect on, Catherine.

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  4. Are you saying Dr Jude MacArthur is wrong?

    I thought it was appalling how many people made the unstated assumption that many disabled boys are sexually deviant and will molest girls if mixed.

    Some people need to take a long hard look in the mirror.

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  5. I’m saying that you are forever the apologist, Arana.
    No matter what the issue, you’ll dredge up some spurious argument or other to defend the brutally stupid actions of your team.
    Seen it time and time again.
    Astonishingly, photonz1, by his well-reasoned and correct comment @ 2:56, has put you to shame and left you alone out on that withered limb.

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  6. Perhaps you’ll grow up one day. I won’t hold my breath. Whether or not this school is closed or stays open for other reasons, Dr Jude MacArthur makes a valid point.

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  7. It is true: Parata should be sacked. Because she is doing a poor job. But not for the reasons that (I’m guessing?) Sprout thinks she should be sacked for.

    In each of the cases where she’s be embroiled in battle (and Lord knows there’s been enough of them) she has come off looking weak and apologetic. When challenged she should be going straight for the jugular, saying in as many words that these well meaning folks are either people fearful for their own jobs (with the distinct implication that they are sub-standard) or they are parents who don’t actually care for the quality of their children’s educational, and would rather have an average school next door rather than a better school down the road.

    She is so bad at this and surviving that there must be a reason. And I think that it is that parents of crying children are hogging the headlines, and that fracking, TPP, asset sales, and all this stuff gets depressed in the news, and thus escapes public visibility.

    Clever.

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  8. Chooses indeed.
    Have you spent time at Salisbury School, Arana or dbuckley?
    I have spent many, many hours there.
    I wonder if that gives me a different, more useful perspective than the two of you?
    Simply presenting a point, such as Arana has done, should be seen as an invitation to reply, rather than a requirement.

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  9. I have not spent anytime at all there, so my view of its benefits or otherwise is entirely zero; I have no opinion whatsoever.

    I’m sure it gives you a view; how “useful” that view is depends on the question. If the question is about that institution, I’m sure you could provide useful insight. If the question is how that institution relates to other similar or different institutions, or about education or disabilities in general, then that is a much more difficult question. Obtaining impartiality and objectivity from Involved parties is notoriously difficult.

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  10. I’m not sure if Jude MacArthur was referring to some specific comment, but it seems Arana is not: “I thought it was appalling how many people made the unstated assumption…”

    So you are appalled at the views people haven’t said they hold, but that you’ve decided they hold? Are you able to say who holds these views or are you just making one of those nasty “I’m not saying you think this, but a lot of people who disagree with me on this issue do” kind of general attacks on unspecified people in order to make a defence impossible?

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  11. “Obtaining impartiality and objectivity from Involved parties is notoriously difficult.”

    Perhaps. They’d not have to give an impartial view though. Whatever the on-the-ground professionals said should have been given appropriate weight, as with any situation. In this case, it seems their views were largely ignored. Parata and her team (Nat caucus included) have developed a reputation for dictatorial decision-making. This is but one further example.

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  12. Greenfly says “Parata and her team (Nat caucus included) have developed a reputation for dictatorial decision-making. ”

    Locally, she proposed five schools be merged into two. Two schools with falling rolls were just 300m apart. Another two with falling rolls were just 500m apart. One other school with a “special character” (i.e.high Polynesian roll) was further away.

    The sensible decision was made to merge the schools that were close together, and as a good case was made to keep the special character school run ing as a satelite of the combined schools.

    That’s far more compromising than dicatatorial.

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  13. Occasionally, she stumbles upon a reasonable result. More often than not, she compromises when the clobbering from those she’s attempting to bully, gets too intense. She has presided over several monumental stuff-ups of which the whole country is well aware. Throughout it all, she maintains an arrogant mien and babbles high-sounding nonsense in an attempt to thwart close scrutiny. She’s so puffed-up with supposed high-born mana that her ear canals are blocked.

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  14. Hopefully the Billionaire Glen’s funded research into abuse of children will embrace the issue of abuse of handicapped children as well as all others.

    I find this investment an amazing contribution to our society from a man who could easily turn away from the tall-poppy finger pointers and get on with life in more receptive foreign climes. Hopefully the total independence of the research, and breadth of input from all manner of perspectives, will ensure there is an outcome that all influencers of social norms, irrespective of creed, political spectrum or any other bias, will get behind and support.

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  15. Greenfly

    I take it you don’t hold the minister in any esteeme. Though it took me a while to geth through your torrent of bullying abuse to make that determination.

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  16. Really, Dave? The first two sentences should have been enough. You are correct. Parata’s handling of the deep sea drilling issue, where she bullied Maori on the East Coast, and her roughshod treatment of the education professionals, especially those in the Intermediate sector, show clearly that she’s arrogant and dictatorial. She has served the National Party well, though done the rest of New Zealand a great disservice.

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  17. Lets examin the frst two sentences then :-)

    Occasionally, she stumbles upon a reasonable result.
    More often than not, she compromises when the clobbering from those she’s attempting to bully, gets too intense.

    Given the normal amount of policy papers that cross a minister’s eyes, and the verbosity and CYAing that such papers normally contain, I prefer to think that a minister who can catch a reasonable result before it gets away from them has done a good thing.

    As for compromises when the clobbering . . . . gets too intense either you are supoporting physical or emotional bullying (CLOBBERING) or you don’t think a minister shuld be open to changing their mind when offered an alternative perspective to that of the ministry’s officials.

    Personally, I don’t see being open to a change of mind as a bad thing. It served me well when I was making business decisions based on the best known facts at the time, if I hadn’t been prepared to have a change of mind I wouldn’t have gotten half as far ‘up the ladder’ as I did.

    I suppose you consider changing your mind in the face of new facts a weakness, I see it as a strength. I suggest you read a few hundred more ‘papers to ministers’ and see what the quality of available advice looks like. To give one example of how it fails, a programme to use evidence based research into the best ways to teach particular subjects (an approach used by the medical profession to identify good treatment approaches,) was given enthusiastic support by politicians and academics, it became a point of global interest and its publishings were sought out far and wide; however, because it, in many cases, indicated that the current approach to some aspects ofpedagogary were not as successful as those of the past, its findings were ignored and buried inside the ministry. A sad fact, Canadians (just for one example,) got more practical and real value from a study funded by NZ Tax Payers, than their children did.

    Back to the topic. Attack the point and I’m here to defend you, attack the person, and I’ll fight you to the last word.

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  18. “I suppose you consider changing your mind in the face of new facts a weakness…”
    Then you suppose wrongly, Dave.
    “attack the person, and I’ll fight you…”
    Ah, the irony! I love it.
    “I prefer to think that a minister who can catch a reasonable result before it gets away from them has done a good thing.”
    But Dave, Parata has failed repeatedly to “catch a reasonable result before it gets away from” her. She’s well known now for being unable to discriminate between a good decision and a bad. The ‘Salisbury School’ decision is a good example – illegal, wasn’t it? That’s not the result a competent Minister wants to be responsible for and it’s not the first failure she’s overseen. There’s a pattern with Parata’s ministry/ministership and it’s one of overstepping, failing to consult effectively and falling at the last hurdle. You might think I’m attacking her, but she’s providing the motivation to critcise.

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  19. “As for compromises when the clobbering . . . . gets too intense either you are supoporting physical or emotional bullying”

    Don’t think there’s been any physical bullying of Hekia Parata has there?

    I think greenfly was talking about political campaigning, God help us if campaigning on an issue is going to be described as “emotional bullying”. It often strikes me that those who condemn so-called ‘political correctness’ are prone to employing similar strategies when it suits them.

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  20. Sam
    Heaven forbid I should support any form of Political Correctness – a disease only slightly less penicious than oldfartitus, especially among the young. My point was that greenfly seemed to think bullying (of any kind) was OK – or at least that was my interpretation of her/his words.

    What I find interesting right now, is that no one here has made any comment about the Glenn funded investigation into child abuse and family violence – given the number of calls for an enquiry over the last few years I expected some comment at least. But there you go – that which is predicted is indeed getting ted infront of dic.

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  21. “My point was that greenfly seemed to think bullying (of any kind) was OK”

    Beats me how you came to that conclusion.

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  22. “Beats me”

    That’s pretty good, Sam.

    Using Dave’s logic, a commentor here would be bullying if he commented negatively about a MP who bullied a constituent. Moreover, Dave would then feel free to ‘fight’ that commenter. Dave’s world is a topsy-turvy one.

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  23. ah dear
    back to quoting you to yourself so you can see what you have writ

    More often than not, she compromises when the clobbering from those she’s attempting to bully, gets too intense.

    The way you positioned this comment was such that you felt she should have compromised immediately someone disagreed with her, rather than having to be “clobbered”.
    Not an approch followed by many of the Green Party in my experience. For instance, the number of people who have demonstrated that the application of Quantative Easing to our current fiscal challenge would have a totally detrimental effect is legion, but I have yet to hear a retraction from the Party. Perhaps Dear Leader needs to be clobbered in order to get the message?

    bye the bye, incase it’s the word that’s giving you a comprehension problem, heres the OEDOL definition

    clob·ber [klob-er]
    A
    verb (used with object), Slang.
    1.
    to batter severely; strike heavily: He tried to clobber me with his club.
    2.
    to defeat decisively; drub; trounce.

    Origin:
    1940–45, Americanism; origin uncertain

    B
    Synonyms
    whip, thrash, lick.

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  24. 2. to defeat decisively

    Yep. That’s the definition I had in mind. How were you upset by that?
    Parata was defeated decisively by those who opposed her stupid proposals. In one instance, it was a court of law that gave her the drubbing.
    I suspect you are a delicate soul, Dave, who over-reacts to straight-talk.

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  25. dave stringer says “What I find interesting right now, is that no one here has made any comment about the Glenn funded investigation into child abuse and family violence ”

    Another enquiry into child abuse is pointless. We already know what all the factors associated with child abuse are.

    The problem is there is a big resistance by some quarters to trying to cut back on all the high risk factors associated with abuse –
    – people in poverty having their fifth kid
    – people using drugs
    – having babies without being in stable relationships
    – teenagers having babies, etc

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  26. Photo
    I think you might benefit fromreading the official launch briefing for the investigation at glenninquiry.org.nz

    The impressive thing is that the question they are expected to answer is very specific, i.e. If New Zealand was leading the world in addressing child abuse and domestic violence what would that look like?

    The facts that this is not bound by any political bias, nor headed by someone who has political markers to meet, and that it is looking simultaneously at family violence and child abuse gives me some hope that it will deliver answers rather than just restating problems, such as those you outlined.

    Personally I think it will take at least a generationto address the issues toi any meaningful level, and require some significant rethinking of the way we run our schools. However, I’m not qualified to state more than a personal opinion, hopefully the large group of mentors and advisors who have agreed to work on the glenn research have much better insights than I do.

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  27. Simple Greenfly

    The words you used are, in common parlance, used to describe physical attacks. To defeat decisively, as a definition, would be more commonly used to describe the defeat of a boxer in the first round rather than the outcome to a challenge on an intellectual basis.

    But then, coming from Liverpool in the 40s, when life was tough and society close knit, I suppose I should be a delicate soul – sadly I’m not. As for fighting you, name the topic and I’ll fight you in debate to a standstill – any time; mind you, I’ll be focussed on the issues, not hating the person putting them forward!

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  28. “The words you used are, in common parlance, used to describe physical attacks.”

    Oh for heaven’s sake – surely you are familiar with the concept of metaphor? Given there haven’t been any physical attacks on Parata over this issue, nor actual proposals of such, it’s pretty obvious Greenfly wasn’t talking about physical attacks. Such red herrings are just a waste of time (By ‘red herrings’ I’m referring to pointless diversions from the topic in hand, not a small marine fish that’s red).

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  29. Dave Stringer – name the topic, you say?

    Okay. Why does someone like you believe that someone like me hates the politician they are criticising?
    You seem very interested in words and their implications and you used the word ‘hating’, so let’s hear why you believe I hate anyone at all.
    To a standstill!

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  30. Oh dear Greenfly
    you see you can’t get away from focusing on personality rather than issue can you.
    I’ll propose a different topic, and even set up a place where we can have the debate if you like, (it isn’t a debate that the FROG started so probbly better that way, unless s/he choses to allow us a thread.

    Here’s a potential topic “proposed, that Since the retrenching of its leadership to the current pair, the Green Party has shifted its main focus away from ecological issues to a socialist agenda to the left of any other current party in the NZ parliament”

    Game?

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  31. Longstone’s departure is as it should be. Parata’s continued presence is a travesty of justice.
    She must go.

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  32. Greenfly
    Just a few examples of your habit of attacking the person. I wonder, were you a bully at school – the verbal type that is, in fact I think you’re probably a bully even now in whatever it is you happen to do for a crust. What is that bye the way?

    Forever the apologist for your brutally stupid party of choice, Arana.

    No matter what the issue, you’ll dredge up some spurious argument or other to defend the brutally stupid actions of your team

    Have you spent time at Salisbury School, Arana or dbuckley? – I have spent many, many hours there. – I wonder if that gives me a different, more useful perspective than the two of you?

    Parata and her team (Nat caucus included) have developed a reputation for dictatorial decision-making.

    She’s so puffed-up with supposed high-born mana that her ear canals are blocked.

    Parata’s handling of the deep sea drilling issue. . . . . and her roughshod treatment of the education professionals, especially those in the Intermediate sector, show clearly that she’s arrogant and dictatorial.

    Parata was defeated decisively by those who opposed her stupid proposals.

    I suspect you are a delicate soul, Dave, who over-reacts to straight-talk.

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  33. “Just a few examples of your habit of attacking the person. I wonder, were you a bully at school – the verbal type that is, in fact I think you’re probably a bully even now…”

    Pot. Kettle.

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  34. Dave Stringer – why haven’t you honoured your offer to debate to a stand-still the topic of my choice?
    I’m genuinely puzzled and disappointed. Why did you offer me the chance if you didn’t mean me to take it?
    As to your later claims (and I know this is trite stuff, bickering about detils of who’s a meanie – sorry Frog and readers – I know you will skim over if you find it distasteful) it’s clear you cannot distinguish between an attack on an individual and an attack on an idea, a behaviour or a gropu of anonymous supporters. I’ll try to show you the error of your thinking:

    Forever the apologist for your brutally stupid party of choice, Arana.

    Here, I’ve accused Arana of being an apologist. Why do you find that offensive? Hardly a personal attack, Dave.

    No matter what the issue, you’ll dredge up some spurious argument or other to defend the brutally stupid actions of your team

    Again, I claim that the argument is spurious. The argument, Dave. Why are you so sensitive, I wonder?

    Have you spent time at Salisbury School, Arana or dbuckley? – I have spent many, many hours there. – I wonder if that gives me a different, more useful perspective than the two of you?

    I don’t get your objection to this comment at all. I’ve tried to spot the personal attack, the bullyong you describe, but can’t see it in there.

    Parata and her team (Nat caucus included) have developed a reputation for dictatorial decision-making.

    What?

    She’s so puffed-up with supposed high-born mana that her ear canals are blocked.

    This is harsh, but I believe entirely accurate. Public figures like Parata are not exempt from harsh comments, Dave. In fact, they know it’s part of the job, especially when those comments are earned. Are you suggesting that no commenter should say mean things about politicians? That’s a naive hope.

    Parata’s handling of the deep sea drilling issue. . . . . and her roughshod treatment of the education professionals, especially those in the Intermediate sector, show clearly that she’s arrogant and dictatorial.

    Not bullying here either, Dave. Firstly, she’s not in front of me, nor is she likely to read my comments. hard to bully someone if they are entirely unaware of your existence. In any case, my comments are correct and I’ve described why I believe them to be so.

    Parata was defeated decisively by those who opposed her stupid proposals.

    By now you should be getting it. I am mean to her PROPOSALS here, Dave. Sheeesh!

    I suspect you are a delicate soul, Dave, who over-reacts to straight-talk.

    I have to say, my impression has been strengthened by your response. I hope I’ve been civil enough for both you an Frog in this response. I always aim to be fair :-)

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  35. why haven’t you honoured your offer to debate to a stand-still the topic of my choice?

    SIMPLE
    you didn’t choose a topic, you picked an opinion of a person. As I’ve said many times, attack the issue and I’ll fight for you, attack the person and I’ll fight against you.

    In all of the examples I gave, you chose to demean the person rather than address the issue.

    your brutally stupid . . choice
    Like to call people who disagree with you stupid ?

    the brutally stupid actions of your team
    Brutally stupid is perhaps more your phrase of the week, or should that be weak?

    have you spent time at Salisbury School,

    I suppose being in charge of a scout-group for physically and mentally handicapped children would have no value in forming an opion, at least not compared with your “spending time”?

    puffed-up with supposed high-born mana
    again, an attack on the person – no issue in sight

    she’s arrogant and dictatorial
    nuff already said – no issue

    her stupid proposals
    well, at least no brutality here eh!

    I suppose I shoulld answer your comment that I am “a delicate soul, Dave, who over-reacts to straight-talk” with a tirade of abuse for a person who is obnoxious, foul, offensive, insulting, unmannerly and downright rude,
    (All synonyms for the adjective abusive, meaning (oedolv) using, containing, or characterized by harshly or coarsely insulting language : an abusive author; abusive remarks) but I don’t think I’ll bother. As for debating you about yourself, well – I’m not going to waste my time, you display your own colours perfectly well

    Sam
    pot:kettle ?

    You are right. I apologise and this will be my last post on the subject.

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  36. Well, some of the examples Dave quotes are clearly dealing with Parata’s policies, and I don’t know why Dave finds them objectionable, others are an attack on the person, rather than the policy, e.g.

    “She’s so puffed-up with supposed high-born mana that her ear canals are blocked.”

    But given Parata has taken a job as a manager of a large, publicly funded institution, is it really so objectionable for her employers (i.e. us) to have opinions about her ability to do the job? If so a very large part of political debate is going to be declared off-limits as ‘bullying’. This does strike me as very much a so-called ‘politically correct’ attitude – “you musn’t say anything hurtful about somebody, even if is quite possibly true”.

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  37. Note to self: Must modify language by adopting a sweet lilt and a honeyed tongue. Words can hurt, and I don’t want to be a hurter!
    After all, Hekia’s got feelings, as has Gerry, Steven, John and Bill. (Judith, I’m not so sure about) I’d not be able to live with myself if I ruined their Christmas with my brutal comments.

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  38. Frank sums up how bad National and Parata have been for education.
    http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/national-and-the-cult-of-buck-passing/#comment-10936

    “The classroom-teacher debacle was the first of several major crises (I refuse to call them “issues”) to confront Hekia Parata and her Ministry.

    Others included,

    the ongoing Novopay fiasco

    the enforced amalgamation/closures of 30+ Christchurch schools, using data that was discovered to be hopelessly wrong,

    the attempt to force closure of Salisbury School, which would have placed special-needs female students in a male school, and making them potential victims of sexual abuse (See: Parata did not heed warning over closure)
    ,
    Ministry of Education suggestions that misleading information be given in respect to Official Information Act requests about Christchurch school closures. (See: Education ministry criticism ‘serious‘)”

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