A recent international study ranked New Zealand students among the worst-behaved in the world, and Secondary Principals’ Association president Patrick Walsh said there was a sea change in how discipline was perceived in schools.
“The public and parents are becoming less tolerant with the restorative justice approach, and want schools to get tough on serious offenders.”
While a restorative justice approach had been widely adopted, research showed children’s behaviour had grown worse in the past decade, with sexual and physical assaults increasing.
Almost three-quarters – 71 per cent – of respondents in a Sunday Star-Times reader poll, said discipline was lacking in our schools, and blamed the rise in bad behaviour on the loss of discipline at home and a lack of respect among young people.
Walsh said many of the worst-behaved students came to school with violence or sexual deviance learned at home, and it was a difficult balancing act between rehabilitating students and ensuring the safety of others.