Horror stories fail to shift Education Ministry on the right to restrain

NZ Herald 20 September 2018
Family First Comment: This article makes shocking reading – and shows why schools are struggling to find teachers. Who wants to work in this type of jungle-environment?

A Far North principals’ association president was hoping a Ministry of Education meeting in Wellington on Friday to review guidelines on the restraint of children, would result in change. He was disappointed.

“The Mad Hatters are now in control of our classrooms,” said Te Tai Tokerau Principals’ Association president Pat Newman.

He had advised his members to hope and pray that those making the decisions would “actually apply common sense for once” to they had been facing since the guidelines were imposed.

“A teacher is not even allowed to lift a five-year-old up and carry them out [of the classroom] when they throw things in the middle of a tantrum.

“Instead, we are supposed to leave them and remove all the other children,” he said.

Then there were:
* The Year 2 boy who urinated on the floor in front the class as an act of defiance, swore and spat at the teacher, destroyed classroom property, on occasion screamed for long periods of time, hit and kicked the teacher and other pupils.
He refused to leave the classroom when asked to, the teacher repeatedly facing the choice of allowing him to remain and potentially continue his disruptive behaviour, or taking the classroom outside “again”.

School locked down three times
* Several incidents with an eight-year-old who smashed windows/punched holes in the bathroom walls. Students/staff placed in lockdown on three occasions until he calmed down.The child’s ‘psychologist,’ who used to see him occasionally, asked us write a review of each incident so they could justify putting anger management strategies in place.

Won’t get out of cars
* We have had at least five instances of parents unable to get children out of their car or into class this term. On two occasions, the parent eventually left the school with the child.
* “I have had three this term who have refused to get out of the car when Mum has arrived to drop them off. Not long ago, I would have lifted them out of the car and told the parent to drive away. Now all I can say to the parent is that it is your challenge, you get them out and to class and we will take over.”
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