Middle School West Auckland,

The Herald reports:

Fried chicken, pizza and cakes were used as rewards to keep a handle on spiralling student behaviour, according to angry parents and teachers from a new charter school.

The claims, and further concerns about behaviour policy, bullying, lack of cultural awareness, safety and drugs at Middle School West Auckland, are under investigation by the Ministry of Education.

About 40 children attend the Henderson school, which opened in January. It shares a location with private Maori school Nga Kakano and teaches Years 7 to 10. …

Complaints about the school were sent to its board, with some then forwarded to government officials after a perceived lack of action.

“The present leadership … is found wanting,” said a letter written by Veronica Allen, a Maori educator who came from Nga Kakano to help at MSWA.

“In fact the method used is an appease system where students are bought pizza, hot chips, cakes and then taken on trips to the beach or unrelated outings to keep them happy and engaged.”

Mrs Allen said that on average, each year level had been fed takeaways four times over three weeks, with some promised KFC if they scored well on behaviour tracking sheets.

Another staff member wrote to the Education Review Office, saying the behaviour policy “highlights a lack of leadership management and lack of effective teaching practices”.

The staff member informed ERO that bullying was rife at the school, and that there was drug use. She said one student had attempted suicide. Students were ejected from class, and left in the hallway with no supervision.

Accusations of drug use, bullying and an attempted suicide are serious, and need to be properly investigated.

Katrina Casey, head of the ministry’s sector enablement and support, said the school’s sponsor, Villa Education Trust, had confirmed there had not been any instances of drugs or bullying or any suicide attempt by a student at Middle School.

So those alleging this has happened, need to substantiate their claims. I have no idea who is right or wrong, but such serious allegations should be substantiated and investigated.

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