Throwing desks, fighting and stabbing other kids with scissors

Schools say they are at “breaking point” as new figures show they are standing down a record number of students for assaulting teachers.

Latest Ministry of Education data show total stand-downs last year increased by just over 1000, or 8 per cent – the first increase on an age-standardised basis since the ministry started actively discouraging stand-downs a decade ago.

Physical assaults on other students and teachers accounted for 80 per cent of the increase.

Principals Federation president Whetu Cormick said schools could change policies to keep students in school after lesser offences, but most schools automatically stood students down after serious assaults.

“Schools have been working incredibly hard to engage with young families with children, and stand-downs and suspensions in the primary schools are often a last resort, but our colleagues are telling us they are at breaking point,” he said.

Northland’s Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association president Pat Newman recently threatened to suspend children indefinitely because of growing violence, with children throwing desks, fighting in the playground and stabbing other kids with scissors.

Northland has the second-highest overall stand-down rate of 32 for every 1000 students, just behind the West Coast (34). The national average rate is 20.6, up from 19.3 in 2015 on an age-standardised basis.

Stand-downs for assaults on other students jumped from 4.9 for every 1000 students in 2015 to 5.8 last year (about 4314 cases), the highest since 2012.

Stand-downs for assaults on teachers rose from 0.8 to 1.1 for every 1000 students (about 780 cases), the highest level on record and more than double the rate of 0.5 for every 1000 students in the early years of last decade.

The way I see it, by the time a kid hits secondary, there is a zero tolerance policy.  Depending on the seriousness and persistence of the violence, I would even charge them with aggravated assault.

 

– NZ Herald


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