June 9, 2023

Violence blamed on removal of corporal punishment



Last updated 11:18 29/08/2009

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.

School Bullying Expected Outcome of Social Agenda

MEDIA RELEASE 16 March 2009

School Bullying Expected Outcome of Social Agenda

Family First NZ says that concerns about school bullying are a simple result of the culture we have experimented with, which includes children’s rights, media standards, undermining the role of parents, and removing consequences.

“Why are we surprised by bullying and violence in our schools when children are fed this material through the media constantly,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Kids are bullying each other, kids are bullying teachers, kids are bullying parents. Bullying is not just a school problem, and it’s not just a youth problem.”

“We cannot continue to feed the minds of our young people with the level of violence, sexual content and disrespect for authority that is prevalent in the media and our culture without it affecting the minds of some of our most impressionable and at-risk teenagers and children.”

“But schools are suffering in particular because they are being forced by the Ministry of Education to put up with increasing levels of unacceptable behaviour and are being criticised for suspending these students.”

It is also significant that as schools have removed corporal punishment, schools have become more dangerous. School yard bullying by pupils on other pupils and staff is now the new form of ‘corporal punishment’ in schools.”

“All of these young people have entered a system of education and society where discipline and responsibility are being replaced by the politically correct nonsense of children’s rights. Ironically, this has been pushed by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner who is now crying foul.”

“The anti-smacking law has also undermined the role of parents, has failed to understand the special relationship and functioning of families, and has communicated to some children that they are now in the ‘driving seat’ and parents should be put in their place.”

Sweden, one of the first countries to ban smacking in 1979 suffered a similar fate with assaults by kids increasing 672% in the 13 years following the ban. A recent UN report on European Crime and Safety found that Sweden had one of the worst assault and sexual violence rates in EU.

“Student behaviour and bullying will continue to deteriorate for as long as we tell them that their rights are more important than their responsibilities, that proper parental authority is undermined by politicians and subject to the rights of their children, and that there will be no consequences of any significance or effectiveness for what they do,” says Mr McCoskrie.


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42

Bullies turn to hi-tech torment


Cellphones and the internet now mean bullied school pupils often get “no respite”, the children’s commissioner says.

“While parents may have been on the receiving end of a small group of bullies in their days at school, their children are potentially exposed to hundreds or thousands of bullies via mobile phone and internet technology,” commissioner Cindy Kiro writes in a report to be made public today.

The report into school safety, headed by Office of the Children’s Commissioner adviser Janis Carroll-Lind, follows calls for a national inquiry by parents of bullying victims at Hutt Valley High School.

In December 2007, nine boys at the school were dragged to the ground and violated by a pack of six classmates.

The report, to be unveiled at a school violence summit in Wellington today, criticises some schools for not even having a policy to deal with bullying and violence.

It cites cases of severe violence in schools being ignored by teachers and of pupils who were too afraid to go to school.

In one case, a student took a knife to school to protect himself after another threatened to stab him. Some schools either have no systems in place to deal with bullying, or the systems are not robust enough to cope when things go wrong, the report finds.

“There is evidence to suggest that in schools where things went wrong, it went horribly wrong.”

Dr Kiro said it was “disappointing” to find that while many pupils were either bullied or knew of others being bullied, most felt there was no point speaking out.

Children who witnessed bullying needed to feel safe to speak out and not condone it, she said. “There’s an awful lot bystanders can do.”

It was also important for parents to understand new forms of bullying, which were potentially dangerous because they could attract a large audience. “In terms of cyberspace, the potential audience is enormous and you can never take it back.”

The report notes that besides negative text messages, mobile phones can be used to gather a large number of pupils in a short time “for example, to the ‘top field’ to witness a fight”.

“Furthermore, mobile phones can film the fight so victims can potentially be re-victimised over and over when the video footage is circulated among a wide network of ‘spectators’.”

It recommends policies restricting mobile phone use at school. It also says many teachers do not use or understand “interactive online technologies” such as chatrooms and email used by their pupils. They need training to understand and address the issues relating to cyber-bullying.

The report also notes there have been instances where serious assaults occurred in schools, warranting police intervention, but police were not notified.

Children as young as five participated in the research. The youngest children reported being called names or being excluded from activities, though some had also been physically bullied with objects like sticks.

Pupils interviewed for the report suggested ways to tackle bullying, including cameras in schools, more teachers on duty, playground supervision, student advocates and red cards for bullies.

Boy coaxed down from school roof


Boy coaxed down from school roof

JARED MORGAN – The Southland Times | Thursday, 26 February 2009

Police negotiators were needed to coax a bullied 10-year-old boy down from a Southland school rooftop after he threatened to jump yesterday.

The threats by the boy to jump from the single-storey school building sparked a full emergency response in Invercargill.

Senior Sergeant Dave Raynes said police, the Fire Service and St John paramedics were called to Ascot Community School, on Tay St, about 11.45am.

Police negotiators were able to talk him down before taking him to the Invercargill police station to be dealt with by medical professionals, including mental health services, he said.

The boy was uninjured in the incident.

The boy’s mother said yesterday her son had been involved in several squabbles with other students at the school since the start of the week.

He and his younger brother had been brought home by police on Monday after she said the younger boy allegedly threatened another child with scissors, while police told her that her older son had thrown a chair at another student.

On Tuesday, the 10-year-old was involved in a squabble with two other children, a boy and a girl, who taunted him about scarring from burns he received in a house fire almost two years’ ago and the fact he had been taken away by police the day before, she said.

Then, yesterday, her son and the boy again had a confrontation, leading to her son punching the boy, the woman said.

“I was a called at 9.30am and told to come and pick him up because he had been stood down.”

While she was meeting with the principal to discuss the matter, her son and the boy had another confrontation, leading to him climbing on to the roof to “get away from him.”

The incidents were the result of her son not coping with the burns to his chest, stomach and thighs, caused by standing too close to a stove at the family’s Yarrow St home in June 2007.

He still wears a pressure suit as a result of the injuries and had been subjected to bullying, she said.

The school and principal Wendy Ryan had been supportive of her son but she felt more needed to be done to protect him from bullying, the woman said.

Mrs Ryan could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Broadcaster ‘disgusted’ with school after bullying


Broadcaster ‘disgusted’ with

school after bullying

4:00AM Saturday Dec 20, 2008
By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Kate Hawkesby says deciding to remove her sons from Victoria Avenue School was a no-brainer. Photo / Supplied

Kate Hawkesby says deciding to remove her sons from Victoria Avenue School was a no-brainer. Photo / Supplied

Broadcaster Kate Hawkesby has pulled her two children out of their Remuera primary school after its handling of a case of bullying.

A Ministry of Education inquiry is underway after a 10-year-old child was bullied at Victoria Avenue School in Auckland.

An independent report commissioned by the school’s board of trustees said the school’s handling of the case was “so badly flawed and biased that it has revictimised the complainant child”.

Hawkesby, who reads the news on Auckland’s radio station NewstalkZB and yesterday read out the report about the school, is among parents who say the lack of quality leadership and intimidation has led to the “downslide” of the school.

The former TVNZ Breakfast co-host said the case had contributed to her decision to remove her children from the school – but there were other factors as well.

“I’m absolutely disgusted. They [head staff] were very ineffectual in dealing with us [parents] and they didn’t seem interested in what we had to say or enforcing the necessary punishment to the perpetrator.”

In the incident in question, a child was pushed up against a wall and “humped” (simulated sex).

Hawkesby said one of her sons had also been bullied – in a completely different way – and she had been unimpressed with the school’s handling of the case.

Taking him and his brother out of the school was a no-brainer, she said.

“No mother wants to have their kid go through that.

“You’ll do anything for your kids. I think the reason I took it so far [to the Ministry of Education] was because many parents had gone through the same situation – [head staff] just did not care.

“There was a culture there that was pretty rife. It wasn’t the staff, but the leadership at the school.”

Another mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she initially sent her children to the school because of its high reputation and fond memories that she had had of the school where she was a pupil years before.

But “appalling treatment” of parents and students had led to her regretting the decision, she said.

“Very manipulative and intimidating. It’s terrifying for parents. My son was accused of being a bully. He was basically screamed and shouted at and told that he was lying – they later found that it wasn’t true,” the mother said.

The school did not return calls from the Weekend Herald yesterday.

The ministry has said it has been assured the school is developing a plan to follow up on the report.