A big increase in the number of primary school children suspended for violent acts is being blamed on the removal of corporal punishment in schools.
Figures from the Ministry of Education show a 88 per cent increase in suspensions of eight-year-olds from 2000 to 2008 for assaults on classmates, a 73 per cent rise for seven-year-olds, a 70 per cent increase for six–year-olds while the suspensions over the same period had increased by 33 per cent for five-year-olds.
“It is significant that as schools have removed corporal punishment, schools have become more violent,” Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said today.
“School yard bullying by pupils on other pupils and staff is now the new form of ‘corporal punishment’ in schools.
“We have a generation of children who have been victims of a social experiment of how best to raise our kids and the role of correction.
“And it continues with the smacking debate – another example of undermining parental authority and `state knows best how to raise your kids’.”
Mr McCroskie said student behaviour would continue to deteriorate “for as long as we tell them that their rights are more important than their responsibilities”.
Auckland Primary Principals Association president Marilyn Gwilliam said schools were struggling to handle the children because by law, they were not allowed to touch children to calm them down, even when they “kick and they bite and they hit.”
In many cases, schools had no choice but to stand children down, she told The Weekend Herald.
The Post Primary Teachers Association is set to discuss solutions to combating the schoolyard violence at its annual meeting next month.
Because of schools limited number of in-school counsellors and teacher aides, the association’s advisory group on conduct problems will suggest that schools need access to trained psychologists and social workers.