Primary school principals are expressing “horror and disbelief” at Education Minister Hekia Parata’s suggestion that schools should call the police to deal with very violent students.
NZEI Te Riu Roa president Lynda Stuart says greater funding is needed to resource schools and support services so that troubled kids – and their classmates – can learn and reach their potential.
“Instead, we’re seeing schools having to reduce the hours of teacher aides and other support staff so they can balance their budgets.”
Ms Stuart says that calling police to deal with violence in schools is impractical and inappropriate. “We want to de-escalate volatile situations in which a child may be resorting to violence. What are the police supposed to do? They don’t want to come in with tasers and handcuffs to violently restrain an eight-year-old.
“It’s totally unacceptable to expect the police to mop up the mess caused by the government’s unwillingness to fully meet the needs of every student.”
Ms Stuart says more children are growing up in “massively stressed homes” because of rising inequity and poverty, and schools are not resourced to mentor or manage the hurt and angry students in their classrooms.
“Principals all over the country are up in arms about the inadequate learning support that’s available for children with special learning needs, including the increasing number of children with behavioural needs.