Schools told to consider refusing enrolment of violent children by Principals’ Federation

Radio NZ News 2 March 2021
Family First Comment: Yes, some of these children will be acting out as a result of trauma in their life, but many others will simply be acting like this because authority both at home and at school has been undermined, and children know that they are now in control. This behaviour wasn’t normal previously when standards and discipline were expected.
“There are instances where young people have used weapons at school and weapons towards staff and other young people, and there are young people who have damaged classrooms and equipment, throwing classroom furniture around.”

The Principals’ Federation has suggested schools defy legally-binding directives to enrol violent children who have been kicked out of other schools.

It has written to its members telling them to consider refusing Ministry of Education directions to accept such children unless they are certain they will get enough support.

The federation, which represents hundreds of primary and intermediate school principals, has been complaining for several years about a growing number of students it says are traumatised by their home lives and who pose a danger to other students and to their teachers.

The federation’s president, Perry Rush, said schools were not getting the help they needed to safely include violent children in their classrooms.

“There is a national outcry at the moment, a national call for help from principals who are experiencing just being in the vice between the ministry’s requirement to have these young people at school and the damage that these young people are causing to the wellbeing of young people and their teachers,” he said.

“Even though it is a legal expectation for those young people to be enrolled if they are directed, there is a really important conversation to be had with the ministry around the appropriateness of such placements.”

Rush said schools also had a legal requirement to ensure their workplaces were safe and some children would be better off in alternative education arrangements that would help them work through their problems.