19 Aug 2010

Truancy prosecutions unreasonable, say principals

5:17 pm on 19 August 2010

Secondary principals say the Ministry of Education should not have made schools responsible for prosecuting the parents of persistent truants.

They are calling for the maximum fine for a first conviction to be tripled.

Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh says new regulations mean it is up to schools to take legal action.

However, they need permission from the ministry to do that and must later apply to it to have their legal costs reimbursed.

Mr Walsh says that creates unnecessary paperwork and the ministry should take full responsibility for the prosecution.

Mr Walsh says the maximum first fine for persistent truancy is $300. He believes that is too low, especially as the cost of prosecution is likely to be several thousand dollars.

He believes the maximum first fine should be raised to $1000 and says he will raise the issue with Education Minister Anne Tolley.