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OPINION: The mad hatters are now in control of our classrooms

Five-year-olds are ruling classrooms since ministry guidelines on restraint have been implemented, says Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association President, Pat Newman. 

A teacher is not even allowed to lift a five-year-old up and carry them out when they throw things and in the middle of a tantrum now. Instead, we are supposed to leave them and remove all the other children!” says Pat Newman, President Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association.

“A child can be utterly destroying a room, and all the other children’s work, and the same applies,” he continued. “Its cuckoo land!”

Newman released the following statement listing his thoughts on Ministry guidelines:

– last year we identified 1079 children (primary) at the top end of behavioural concerns due to unresolved trauma and abuse suffered

– where P is rife in some areas and in most schools to quite a degree

– where we can claim to have the highest suicide rate for our young compared to the rest of NZ

– where we have a huge number of very small schools in very isolated areas, in very low socioeconomic communities.

and what help did we get?

– Counsellors? No

– Mental health Facilities to cover needs? No

– Sufficient staffing to ensure the safety of staff and children from other children? No

– Access to absolutely required resources/resourcing? No

BUT WE DID GET: Guidelines on restraint! That…

– Made it far harder for us to ensure the safety of all children and staff. 

– Given us little option but to stand down or (I still call it) expel in many cases.

– Handed over control of our schools to any child that wishes to push the boundaries and knows the rules.

That was really helpful wasn’t it…

In Wellington, last week, a meeting was held at the Ministry of Education to review these Guidelines. We can only hope and pray that those making the decisions actually apply common sense for once. 

None of us want to use restraint and to be honest only do it when necessary.

Pat Newman
Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association

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