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Restraint case highlights pressure on schools

A recent Education Council disciplinary tribunal decision, in which a teacher was found guilty of misconduct for carrying a struggling child to the principal’s office, highlights some of the hard decisions that teachers have to make every day to keep themselves and children safe, according to teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa.

The Education Council said in its decision that the teacher who was censured was in a difficult situation.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart says that new rules on physical restraint in schools introduced earlier this year need better back-up for teachers making the tough calls.

“The employer has to ensure that teachers and authorised staff members are suitably supported and trained, however the training is not automatic – schools must make a request to the Ministry.

“If the objective is to improve safety, then this training should have been rolled out to all schools when the new rules came in.”

She says that schools also need better resources for children with high and complex behaviour needs as schools were dealing with more and more violent and distressed children.

Schools must also keep a record of every incidence of physical restraint and send it to the Ministry.

“We are not sure what happens with the information after that and this reporting can add up to a lot of extra work for schools, so we need to look at a way in which this could be simplified and an assurance that the teacher and child will get the support they need.”

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2 Comments

  1. The teachers council appears to be out of touch with what is happening in schools relating to violence perpetrated by students. Health and safety policies don’t appear to have been considered in this incident where an aggressive young student could have caused injury to themselves, other students or the teacher.

    It’s hardly surprising there is a shortage of teachers when more and more regulations are forced upon the already over burdened educators.

    Perhaps it is time to have a look at the make up of the disciplinary arm of the teachers council and ensure there is good representation of “coal face “teachers who are up to date with the day to day difficulties faced by teachers?

  2. While I agree that dealing with complex behaviour issues is a challenging component of the teaching profession, there is a more nuanced and complex story to be told. There is so much wrong in the way the teacher handled this situation. And the report acknowledges that fact – “The teacher’s actions added to the student’s distress….” There is a better way. A way that will benefit children and teachers alike.

    https://easeeducation.co.nz/2017/11/11/is-it-ever-ok-for-a-teacher-to-use-physical-force-to-correct-a-childs-behaviour/

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