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Letter refuting claims by Salisbury School

Attached is a letter sent to Salisbury School from our Board on 23 August 2016. The letter refutes the incorrect claims made by Salisbury School about HRC and its students. We believe it is important to refute these incorrect claims, not only for the reputation of HRC, but for the wider community of people living with disabilities. (Please note an individual's name and their details have been removed to respect their privacy.)

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Media Release - Unsubstantiated attack on College - 13 August 2016

For those who live out of Christchurch, this appeared in the letters to the editor on Saturday. It is from our Board chair Lois Chick. The whole piece is copied below: ‘Unsubstantiated’ attack on College Residential schools are in the news again. Nelson’s Salisbury School for girls is being considered for closure while our school, Halswell Residential College, has been approved to go co-educational. We have taken a few girls since 2014 but we have had a limit on numbers. HRC also faced closure a few years ago. It’s an unsettling and stressful time for everyone. That’s why it has been disappointing to see comments from Salisbury’s Board of Trustees chair (Jul 29) that Halswell is not safe for girls and that, if girls went to Halswell, it would be “disastrous”. We’ve felt under attack from these unsubstantiated comments and our boys feel demonised and demoralised by such comments. The work hard to achieve what they do. They are proud of the gains they make and of their school environment, which is their second home. It affects staff too. A teacher was verbally abused in public after the unsubstantiated claims appeared in the media. The safety of our students is non-negotiable. We have clear processes and rules in place, supported by technology and highly trained, professional staff. Several independent and publicly available reports and reviews reiterate how safe Halswell Residential College is. They also show how well our students do. We are happy to be challenged. But it should be done fairly. Lois Chick Board of trustees, chairwoman, Combined Halswell Residential College/Westbridge Residential School.

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