Home Meeting notice Teachers quit after false rumors, WorkSafe sends notice to Te Aroha College

Teachers quit after false rumors, WorkSafe sends notice to Te Aroha College

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Two teachers quit Te Aroha College over rumors the school was not real, and WorkSafe is now involved.

After receiving 10 complaints in 2021, WorkSafe issued a directive to Waikato High School to improve the way it deals with “psychosocial risk” for staff.

Teachers who resign – who Thing chose not to name – have been the subject of rumors of unprofessional behavior and forgery of documents and authorization slips, a school newsletter said.

It is not known how the rumors started, but the school board wrote that they were false and that they “regret any distress caused”.

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WorkSafe is working with Te Aroha College after 10 complaints were filed in 2021.

KELLY HODEL / STUFF

WorkSafe is working with Te Aroha College after 10 complaints were filed in 2021.

The school also has a restricted statutory manager sent by the Ministry of Education in October, assume certain responsibilities within the board of directors.

WorkSafe confirmed to Stuff that it received 10 reports of concerns regarding the welfare of staff at Te Aroha College in 2021. It issued an improvement notice regarding “Identifying and Managing Psychosocial Risks in the Workplace†.

The college has until December 2 to carry out a risk assessment and put in place a risk management system for workers – the notice can be extended if necessary.

According to a school newsletter, two rumored staff members were resigning effective January 28, 2022.

“The school has been made aware of rumors circulating that [the teachers] did not act in a professional manner and falsified documents and authorizations.

“There is no basis for these rumors. Council regrets any distress caused to [the teachers] by these rumors.

When asked Thing, college board chair Debbie Burge declined to comment on what the rumors were about, who started them, how they started, and why the school indicated there was no no truth for them.

Thing sent a request under the Official Information Act to the school, asking what documents or permissions were suspected of being tampered with, how many times, how the rumors started and why the school said it there was no truth about them.

Te Aroha Township lies below Mount Te Aroha, northeast of Hamilton.

Tom Lee / Stuff

Te Aroha Township lies below Mount Te Aroha, northeast of Hamilton.

The request was rejected on two grounds set out in the Official Information Actthe school said – by protecting privacy and because the information could “harm the public interest”.

When asked about the complaints and who made them, the school said WorkSafe had not released the information.

The school’s statement indicates that it continues to be fully engaged with WorkSafe to address any concerns and ensure that the requirements of the Notice of Improvement are met.

“This involved a meeting between WorkSafe and our senior executive responsible for health and safety, as well as our health and safety manager,†the statement said.

“This was to discuss the improvement notice and review the risk assessment process and the health and safety system.”

The board recognized the years of service the teachers have given to the community and wished them the best for the future.

A spokesperson for WorkSafe said his team Kaimahi Hauora is working with Te Aroha College and has met with representatives as alert levels allow.

Former college board chair Teena Cornes resigned after WorkSafe began investigating earlier in 2021, with Burge taking over.

A Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) has also been appointed at the school – Ted Benton.

He will be responsible for policy and employment, and will support the board of directors with governance processes and procedures.

Statutory intervention is used when there may be “operational risks, or a risk to the well-being or educational performance of their students”, according to the Ministry of Education.

When a limited statutory principal is appointed, he temporarily assumes certain powers, functions and duties of the board, but the principal is still the one who takes care of the day-to-day management of the school.

Benton, is very experienced, the school newsletter reads, having been a teacher, principal and worked for the Department of Education.

“We believe that his expert skills will enable us to rapidly examine and strengthen areas of our governance that are not functioning as effectively as they could be.”