Expect this to get a lot worse

Naughty new entrants kicked out of school
Dominion Post 22 August 2011

Naughty five and six-year-olds are increasingly being turfed out of school as experts say the behaviour of young pupils is getting worse. One child psychologist says poor parenting is part of the problem, and exposure to drugs or alcohol in the womb is having a terrible impact of some children. Schools are reporting the behaviour of new entrants as more challenging than ever before. Last year the number of five and six-year-olds stood down and suspended reached five-year highs. Suspensions are more serious than stand-downs, but both result in a pupil’s formal removal from school. There were 70 instances of five-year-olds being stood down and 131 of six-year-olds, with six instances of five-year-olds suspended and 20 instances of six-year-olds. Common issues among children of that age with behavioural problems were disobedience and aggression, child psychologist Fiona Ayers said.

It is significant that as schools have removed corporal punishment, schools have become more dangerous. School yard bullying by pupils on other pupils and staff is now the new form of ‘corporal punishment’ in schools. Schools are being pressured not to suspend students and are now tolerating an unacceptable level of violence, sexual and offensive behaviour and intimidation.

Education Ministry figures in 2007 revealed that violence and dangerous behaviour is on the rise in schools with more pupils assaulting teachers and classmates. Family First also uncovered figures showing a 37 per cent surge in primary school disciplinary actions. Primary schools are reporting increasingly violent misbehaviour by children as young as five.

Ministry of Justice statistics for pre-teen violence released just last year also showed a disturbing trend. From 1998-2008, the number of police apprehensions for grievous/serious assaults by 10-13 year olds increased by more than 70%. For each of the most recent two years, there has been almost 1,000 apprehensions for 10-13 year olds for all violent offences, which include aggravated robbery, sexual violation, indecent assault, and serious assaults – an increase of a third since 1998.

Student and youth behaviour will continue to deteriorate for as long as we tell them that their rights are more important than their responsibilities, that proper parental authority and responsibilities are undermined and subject to the rights of their children, and that there will be no consequences of any significance or effectiveness for what they do.


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