School's board seeks closure canned
Mon, 02 Jul 2012 2:16p.m.
A lawyer acting for a school's board which wants to stop it being closed and merged with a college says the high school is riddled with problems.
Kawerau Intermediate School's board of trustees is challenging a Government plan in the High Court at Rotorua to close the school and force it to merge with the town's college.
It fears that their "lovely little school" will be lost if it joins forces with Kawerau College.
Counsel for the board, Mark Hammond, has claimed the college is a breeding ground for gangs, has a high suicide rate, that the number of teenage pregnancies there are the country's highest and bullying is a major problem.
He has also claimed that because of the number of students being beaten up in the school's toilets these are now open-sided.
"We can't have little children sharing these facilities and in a playground with older children," Mr Hammond submitted.
He has also claimed the college is run by two statutory managers while the intermediate has a dedicated principal, a sound group of teachers and a highly-engaged board of trustees.
It has also received an excellent Education Review Office report.
Mr Hammond told Justice Mark Woolford the decision to merge the two schools was made by Education Minister Hekia Parata a day after she took office.
He says her move was at odds with her predecessor Anne Tolley who favoured a merger, but with separated schools for the different age groups on the one site.
After strong opposition to the merger from the Kawerau community, the intermediate's principal Daryl Aim led a protest hikoi to Wellington in May last year.
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