The Ministry of Education (MoE) has told children to "go to school" after a Hamilton principal said truant students were "highly likely" to get raped.
Fraser High School leader Virginia Crawford made the comments at a full school assembly on Thursday, telling students they are "highly likely to commit domestic violence or be a victim of domestic violence, be illiterate, be a rape victim, be a suicide victim, be unemployed for the majority of their life" if they don't attend class.
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Now the MoE has weighed in on the issue with a statement provided to Newshub.
"It's really important that children go to school every day," deputy secretary sector enablement and support Katrina Casey says.
"International surveys such as PISA have shown that attendance is one of the strongest drivers of student achievement."
However, it seems Ms Crawford's speech has had the opposite effect to that intended, with angry students now reportedly planning a "mass wag".
A staff member Newshub spoke to said students mentioned they're planning on wagging next week, probably for one period.
The staffer said it was "disgusting" to tell teenagers at the decile 4 school "they will get raped or be victims of domestic violence or commit suicide if they wag".
"Most of it was okay but wow, that first part was not okay."
Year 12 student Cody Barron told Newshub Ms Crawford's comments were "disrespectful".
"One girl started crying in the assembly. Some people took it serious, some people were just laughing, like, 'What the hell?' They were not expecting this," he says.
"When you go to a school, you don't expect to hear your principal be talking trash about suburbs 90 percent of the students come from - which seemed to be racial - and how she's so much better than us."
The MoE says it has been in contact with the school following Ms Crawford's speech and is encouraging parents to complain if they are concerned about the speech.
"We are aware that some of the comments made by the principal have been upsetting to some people," Ms Casey told Newshub.
"The school has a complaints process in place and we would encourage any parents who are concerned about the content of the speech to contact the school directly."