Smacking culture alleged at Newtown preschool

Dominion Post 14/07/2011

Children at a Samoan-language preschool in Newtown have “without an ounce of doubt” been smacked by their teachers, parents have been told. EFKS Aoga Amata has had its full licence revoked by the Education Ministry and is operating on a one-month provisional licence as a result of a ministry investigation into allegations that a teacher smacked a child. Parent Teacher Association chairman Ken Tuuu wrote an email to parents saying: “There is absolutely no doubt a smacking culture has been tolerated at the Aoga. There are kids at the Aoga who have been without an ounce of doubt smacked.” Another email stated: “It has also been brought to the attention of the licensee and supervisor on many occasions. The concern is that despite this, the behaviour is still continuing.” Mr Tuuu said he did not want to comment other than to say the email was intended for parents and not for anyone outside that group. Senior teacher Sadie Fiti “categorically denied” there was a culture of smacking at the school. She said the teacher involved in the incident being investigated by the ministry had “led the child by the hand” after two children were involved in a biting incident, but had apologised to the parents “if [the] child thought [the teacher] was pushing him”.