The following letter was published in the Malvern News on Friday 21 November:
Open letter to the Malvern District school community.
I wish to take this opportunity to remind parents/caregivers/guardians of students currently enrolled at schools in the Malvern District of their legal requirements in relation to their children’s education.
The Education Act 1989 (the Act) states that: Every person who is not a foreign student is required to be enrolled at a registered school at all times beginning on the person’s 6th birthday and ending on the person’s 16th birthday. (Section 20)
Students required to enrol must attend: Every student of a registered school who is required by Section 20 of this Act to be enrolled at a registered school shall attend the school whenever it is open. (Section 25)
Parents/guardians/caregivers are responsible for their child’s regular attendance at school: every parent/caregiver/guardian of a person who while enrolled at a registered school, does not attend…..commits an offence, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine. (Section 29)
A child should only be absent from school for the following reasons – sickness, family bereavement, or family emergency. If you are planning on, or have recently allowed your child to be absent from their school, you need to consider the following:
An absence explained by a parent is not necessarily a justified absence.
Parents do not have the right to excuse their child from school, without just cause.
What message are you sending your child in relation to education?
How will this impact on your child’s education?
What impact will your decision have on the school?
Calendared school holidays along with statutory holidays, throughout the year give ample time in advance to plan or organise family trips, holidays etc. If a parent/caregiver/guardian wants their child to be away from school for any other reasons than those specified above, this MUST be discussed with the school.
How arrogant is that! Who do they think my son belongs to, me or the State? Fortunately he isn’t old enough yet for me to have to deal with this rubbish, but that time will come soon.
The purpose of this law is to stop children bunking school and getting into trouble. But the effect of it is that it forces all children to attend daily state indoctrination sessions, where biased views can be fed into trusting young minds.
Much of the time children spend at school is spent doing nothing because most of the class is ahead of them and they don’t understand what to do, or bored because most of the class is behind them and they are waiting for them to catch up. Very little of the school day is really spent in true productive learning for an individual child, because every child is different. Education is very important, but there are many opportunities for more useful education outside of school.
A parent needs the freedom to raise their own child how they believe is best.
But responsible parents are criminalised if they allow their child to do something that is more educational then school for a couple of days (such as helping on the farm and learning work skills, seeing NZ and learning geography). And the misbehaving students continue to bunk because they don’t care about the law.