Teacher aides stood down


Ashburton College is refusing to comment on revelations that two teacher aides of a class recently under investigation have been stood down.

The Guardian understands two learning support assistants within the Te Whare Manaaaki special needs unit were stood down last week for alleged serious misconduct breaches.

Ashburton College principal Ross Preece declined to comment as it was an employment matter.

The Guardian was tipped off by multiple concerned members of the community about the teacher aides’ suspension.

The Guardian then emailed the principal with the following direct questions, seeking answers for our community.

What can you say about this?

How worried are you that there are further issues arising within this unit?

How concerned are you around the impact of such issues on the children, class and parents?

“Any matter involving employment is of course confidential,’’ was Preece’s only reply.

The latest incident followed the college’s confirmation last week that an investigation into the unit had cleared its head teacher of long-standing bullying allegations against pupils, which stretched back at least three years.

Preece said the investigation had highlighted “some working relationship issues” between the staff in the Te Whare Manaaki unit.

“None of the allegations of bullying were upheld,” Preece said in a statement.

“The college is committed to continuing to provide its students, staff and whanau a safe, supportive learning and working environment.”

Preece said the report could not be released due to privacy reasons and he would not respond to further questions around the investigation.

The teacher in question was not stood down during the inquiry process.

Last week, Ashburton mother Melanie Deuart, who had complained to school leaders twice with her concerns, said she was disappointed to discover that the investigation cleared the teacher.

Deuart was interviewed as part of the investigation, but was not shown the report.

She pulled her autistic son out of the college at the start of the term because of ongoing concerns.

– By Adam Burns