Resources needed to reduce violence in schools – not police

7 April 2017

Primary school principals have expressed horror and disbelief at the Minister of Education’s suggestion in Parliament that schools should call the police to deal with “very violent” student behaviour.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said greater funding was needed to resource schools and support services so these troubled kids – and their classmates – could learn and reach their true potential.

“Instead, we’re seeing schools having to reduce the hours of teacher aides and other support staff so they can balance their budgets. It’s simply not good enough to short-change our children in this way,” she said.

Ms Stuart said that calling police to deal with violent situations would be an impractical and inappropriate solution even if police were able to attend promptly.

“We want to de-escalate volatile situations in which a child may be resorting to violence. What are 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 said more children were growing up in massively stressed homes because of rising inequity and poverty, and schools were not resourced to adequately mentor and 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,” said Ms Stuart.

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