Expelling primary kids – even when told not to

Primary school behaviour is getting far worse. The numbers as reported in this Herald article (below) simply mask what’s really happening – and unfortunately the reporter has reinforced it by saying that the figures are similar to ten years ago.

The facts are: Stand-downs for assaults by eight-year-olds increased by 88 per cent from 2000 to 2008. Seven-year-olds received 73 per cent more stand-downs than in 2000, six-year-olds had 70 per cent more, and stand-downs of five-year-olds increased by 33 per cent.

But schools are being told not to expel kids. A Ministry of Education report in 2008 trumpeted a fall in school suspensions, and at the time Minister of Education Chris Carter heralded it as a ‘concerted effort by schools supported by the ministry’.

Teachers are putting up with increasingly bad behaviour – and are at risk of assault by students – something virtually unheard of a little more than a decade ago when I worked in schools. But what do you expect when we undermine the authority of parents, teachers, and police – and increase the ‘rights’ of children.

NZ Herald 1 Feb 2012
Nearly 2000 primary school children were sent home last year following serious disciplinary matters – including 75 whose behaviour was so bad they were told not to bother returning. In many cases the disciplinary action was a last resort by desperate principals – not designed to teach the child a lesson but to get help for them or protect other students following violent, antisocial and occasionally sexually motivated behaviour. Figures released to the Herald under the Official Information Act reveal that in the 11 months to November more than 21,000 school students faced serious disciplinary action. Of those, 1874 were aged under 10 – including 170 5- and 6-year-olds – and 75 were banned from returning to their school after going before the board of trustees for a disciplinary hearing….

Of the 1874 primary school cases in the year to November, 1602 children were stood down for up to five days before being allowed to return. A further 197 were suspended, usually indicating more serious behaviour, until they could go before the board of trustees. Of those students, the behaviour of 75 was so bad that they were formally excluded from the school – meaning they had to re-enroll at another school. While the figures provided for last year were incomplete, the numbers were on a par with 10 years ago. In 2001, 1963 primary-aged students faced serious disciplinary action.