There was a picket line at
Richmond Road School this morning. A group of students, parents and community members claim
the school’s Maori immersion unit, Te Whanau Whariki, is being undermined and stripped
of its resources since the arrival of a new principal
and new board a year ago. Pere Wihongi has more. Not the usual welcome you’d expect to see
on the first day of school. It’s a protest
by parents and students directed at the principal and the board
of Richmond Road School. Resources such as photocopiers,
music lessons, mathletics and funding for the school’s
first performance at the Auckland regional
kapa haka competitions. We tried to speak with the school,
particularly the principal, but I was only sent an email. That’s the problem,
according to the school community – a concerning lack of communication. We’ve waited nine months
for answers. There’s been no answers
from the board or the principal. We’re fed up. Trespassing orders have also been served
to some parents. I’m banned from school grounds
for two years. I’m upset, upset for myself
and my children, that I’m not allowed
into the school. In an email from the board
to Te Karere, they say the decisions were made in the best interests
of the students in the unit. They want one thing – Answers! We only want our questions answered. For now the parents
will continue challenging the board. Pere Wihongi, Te Karere.