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Forged Otatara School Letter Being Investigated

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 25 NZPA - Education Minister Anne Tolley is furious a Southland school put her signature on a fake letter, and officials are investigating the forgery.

Otatara Primary School pupils were given the fake letter yesterday, saying their school day was to be extended by one hour.

Written on Education Ministry letterhead, it was "signed" by Mrs Tolley, who was angry when she learned of it.

"It's unbelievable that teachers would do this to children and I'm angry that the school has used my name," she said.

"The relationship between children and their teachers is extremely important.

"Parents and children trust their teachers -- in this case that trust has been broken and the school has a lot of work to do to regain it."

NZPA understands the Diplomatic Protection Squad is investigating.

Otatara principal Sharon Livingstone told the Southland Times the school was uncomfortable with the news media attention, and the letter was a "mistake" that was not meant to go home to parents.

It was part of a creative writing exercise, and children were not told it was untrue as teachers wanted the reactions to be "authentic", she said.

Year 5 and 6 students were given the letter, which said the change was due to teachers not having enough time to bring in the New Zealand curriculum.

Students were asked to write to the Government with their reaction to the news.

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