July 11, 2020

Legal option after School bullying

27 March 2009 7:28 p.m.

Dear Everyone,

I’ve pasted below a news article that exemplifies many of the vast multitude of things wrong with the state’s schooling institutions. I’m letting off a bit of steam because I am so angry at this rotten system that systematically practises institutionalised child abuse by teachers and administrators who are so desensitised to it, they will round on parents and bully them if they dare question what goes on. Many of these lousy schools are in blatant denial, refusing to admit they have a problem. The most amazing thing is that parents and even doctors and nurses will often side with the school against the victimised child, even in the face of bruises, cuts, crying themselves to sleep at night and having vomiting fits the next morning at the thought of returning to the place of torture.

This week has been amazing. I’ve had so many phone calls and emails from parents wanting to start home education because of the bullying their children have suffered for months, sometimes for years. One mum felt she didn’t want to send the child to school since he was so tender at age 5. She considered home schooling, but decided it was too radical a step. Now, at age 6, her son is toughed up and so much more sophisticated as everyone typically said he needed to become…and he is also defiled because of the sexual abuse he suffered at school. She now forever regrets the day she ever trusted him to the state. Another mum’s 10-year-old has significant physical disabilities which require a full-time aide. But the boy has had enough of the school-supplied aides and the constant teasing, as the nature of his disability is somewhat personal. He would prefer his mum, but the several schools approached will not have it as they not only dislike parents observing the reality of the classroom, they say it causes children to become too dependent upon their parents! And besides, they say, the boy stinks (due to his disability), and they’d prefer it if she would find another school. And so the boy refuses to enter the school grounds, the parent is begging them to let her instead of aides attend to her son’s needs, but they won’t let her, and she is now being threatened by a Group Special Education person with police and CYFPS and truancy officers if the child is not in school immediately!

It’s a flamin’ madhouse!

This article below has a typical school response to bullying. “Oh, it’s only girls being girls, boys being boys. It’ll blow over.” So when the girl spirals downhill and hits bottom, it turns out she has parents willing to do something: sue the school. Good on them, I say! Man, has it sobered up the school! The principal all of a sudden comes out of denial and makes a statement most principals would confess to only once they’d been stretched on the rack: “It does not matter what a school does, it can never be resolved completely.” This woman admitted that it is a permanent, on-going, unstoppable problem. We got a straight honest answer at last. I mean, this girl was bullied even after she left the school…by text messages!

The very threat of a legal suit also flushed out the fascinating, yet totally unknown fact, that “it is a statutory requirement for schools to take all reasonable steps to prevent bullying from occurring while pupils are at school,” and that “Failure to take such steps could result in criminal prosecution and hefty fines.” If all parents of school-abused children would simply threaten to sue the school, bullying would be slashed. A few successful suits, some bullies taken down, and the problem would recede way out onto the horizon.

But worst of all is the so-called Children’s Commissar, Cindy Kiro, criticising the parents for considering such an option, but uselessly offering no course of action in its place.

If you don’t know what is going on in these institutions of systematic child abuse called state schools, you need to find out. And then tell your friends and rellies to get their children OUT of those places as soon as possible. All I have to do is read the education column of Stuff.co.nz…it’s enough to make your toenails curl. But I’ve been reading it and other sources for over 20 years…I have stacks of clippings and e-articles of the most horrendous goings on, that just don’t stop, no matter how hard the schools try to cover up…and don’t fool yourself…they go to great lengths to slam the lid on any negative publicity.

Get yourself a subscription to TEACH Bulletin https://hef.org.nz/2007/teach-bulletin-1yr/.  It’s only $9 lousy bucks for 6 issues a year and almost always has a good sampling of the latest in state school violence, as well as other political and statist trends in relation to schools, home education and parenting. Get your friends and neighbours a subscription, too, for it will open their eyes. We’ve got to be informed and stop pretending everything is all right. We’ve got to get children out of the schools, and we’ve got to embolden parents to speak up when their children are being abused by the system.

TEACH Bulletin is available from us at:

Craig & Barbara Smith

Home Education Foundation

PO Box 9064

Palmerston North 4441

New Zealand

Ph. +64 6 357-4399

craig@hef.org.nz

www.hef.org.nz

Legal option after bullying

By NATHAN BEAUMONT – The Dominion Post

Last updated 05:00 21/03/2009

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/2281076/Legal-option-after-bullying

A family is considering legal action against a school after a girl was bullied for so long that she lost 12 kilograms, spent three weeks in hospital and had to move to another school.

The children’s commissioner has described the case as “completely unacceptable” and said she would be prepared to investigate.

And a lawyer is warning school boards that they could be prosecuted by parents whose children suffer emotional harm as a result of bullying.

The parents of the 15-year-old victim said St Mary’s College in Wellington did not do enough to stop the ordeal, which started in August 2007.

Though the bully had written an apology letter to the victim, her family said it was still seeking answers from the school board.

The victim informed the school counsellor when the bullying started, but was told it was just “girls being girls” and would “blow over”, her mother says.

But it did not blow over. Instead the victim said she endured taunts and rumours for a further seven months at school.

The girl’s mother said her daughter developed an eating disorder, lost 12 kilograms and spent three weeks in hospital recovering. The claim was backed up in a letter from a clinical psychologist that was sent to the school.

“After assessment it was clear that [her] weight loss was not due to concerns about her appearance but rather was as a tool to help her maintain control of herself during an episode of bullying by girls at school.”

The parents removed their daughter from the school, but said the taunts continued, with bullying text messages.

St Mary’s principal Mary Cook said the school did everything in its power to deal with the situation.

“The issue with bullying is that it is very difficult to deal with and isolate. It does not matter what a school does, it can never be resolved completely. We do everything we possibly can.”

Meanwhile, a lawyer has warned that it is a statutory requirement for schools to take all reasonable steps to prevent bullying from occurring while pupils are at school.

“Failure to take such steps could result in criminal prosecution and hefty fines,” John Miller said.

Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro said it would be a “sad day” if bullying victims started taking legal action.

“It’s not a route we want to go down, that’s the American way. It is an option, but it is the least constructive option.”

The victim’s mother said the family was keen to explore legal action. “Definitely, we would be keen to look into that area.

“All schools have different approaches to bullying, but St Mary’s seems to be: keep it quiet and deny, deny, deny.”

LETTER TO VICTIM

Letter from the bully to the 15-year-old victim after she left St Mary’s School.

“I don’t want you to have to leave all your friends because of all this shit. I am so sorry for everything. You have no idea how bad I feel. I would do anything to take back what’s happened and everything I have said and done, not only to you, but your friends.

“I know that we will never be friends, but I want us to be anything but enemies. I am so sorry for everything that has happened in the past year. I hope you get better soon and that this letter means even a little something to you.”

Teacher stabbed at Auckland high school

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4866786a11.html

Teacher stabbed at Auckland high school

Stuff.co.nz | Tuesday, 03 March 2009

An international student has been arrested after a teacher was stabbed in the back while writing on the classroom whiteboard at Auckland’s Avondale College.

The 50-year-old teacher – ‘Mr Warren’, according to information given to students – was taken to Auckland Hospital in a serious condition with wounds to the top of his back. The incident happened at 11.42am.

“A student stabbed a teacher in the back while he was writing on the whiteboard,” a police spokesman said. The student then “just walked off”.

A police statement said a 17-year-old international student was found at a Blockhouse Bay property about an hour after the stabbing and was arrested by police. An associate of the Korean teenager – who had only been at Avondale College for a couple of weeks – was also at the home and assisting police.

About 20 students were in the class at the time of the stabbing – the third period of the school day – and are receiving counselling.

One shocked student being propped up by her father was led from the school gates about an hour after the stabbing. Too upset to speak to media, she only nodded when asked if she’d seen the teacher be stabbed.

The classroom where the stabbing happened has been cordoned off.

College principal Brent Lewis said the school was now in “lockdown”. While the incident was very upsetting, he now had to concentrate on dealing with students and staff.

“My emotions don’t come into it at the moment.”

Mr Lewis said he had been trying to keep students fully informed about what had happened.

– with NZPA

Teacher conduct cases hit high

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4812028a11.html

Teacher conduct cases hit high

By LANE NICHOLS – The Dominion Post | Thursday, 08 January 2009

Nearly 1300 teachers have faced allegations of serious misconduct, violence, viewing pornography, sexual misconduct, dishonesty, alcohol and drug use, or incompetency since 2002.

Last year was the worst on record, with 233 formal complaints lodged against teachers with the Teachers Council nearly a third for alcohol and drugs.

But unions say teachers are easy targets for “spurious and vexatious” complaints by aggrieved parents, who are free to make formal allegations often groundless to employers and police.

“There are some parents who won’t be happy unless they see somebody getting punished,” Educational Institute president Frances Nelson said.

“And it doesn’t matter how guilty that teacher is, they still want a pound of flesh.”

There are 90,000 registered teachers, but since 2005, just 40 have been referred to the council’s disciplinary tribunal for formal proceedings over the most serious misconduct allegations.

Nearly all those cases resulted in censure and 26 teachers were struck off for misbehaviour mostly for sexual misconduct or viewing pornography.

The cases included:

Former Wairarapa College drama teacher Luke McIndoe eloped with a 16-year-old pupil after they developed a sexual relationship.

A teacher in her 30s had sex with a secondary school pupil, later saying a breakup with her fiance left her “emotionally vulnerable”.

Retired Havelock North principal Ian James Wilson was convicted on child pornography charges after 9000 illegal images were found on his home computer.

Figures made available under the Official Information Act show misconduct, including inappropriate communications with pupils or parents, was the most common allegation against teachers. Then came incompetency, violence, alcohol and drugs, dishonesty, sexual misconduct and pornography.

Since 2004, misconduct complaints have been investigated by the council’s complaints assessment committee.

It can dismiss complaints if groundless or vexatious, recommend a teacher’s suspension for reasons of safety, impose conditions or refer the most serious cases to the disciplinary tribunal for possible deregistration.

Post Primary Teachers Association president-elect Kate Gainsford said teaching was a public job and there had always been spurious complaints.

“Sometimes they’re just not substantiated enough to take further. There is a concern if there is a lack of natural justice, if people are criticised or attacked unfairly. But that’s why the process is so important.”

Teachers supported having an independent body to assess complaints and discipline wayward colleagues, provided the process was fair and robust.

Mum fearful of school fines

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4803156a11.html

Mum fearful of school fines

By REBECCA TODD – The Press | Friday, 26 December 2008

A Christchurch mother is angry at the prospect of having to pay heavy fines because she cannot get her son to go to school.

Under new laws passed by the National-led Government, parents of truants can be fined $300 for the first offence and $3000 for subsequent offences.

They can also be fined $3000 if they fail to enrol their child in school.

In the past, parents could be fined $150 for the first offence and $400 for subsequent offences.

Michelle Chalmers said her 14-year-old son had not been in school for much of this year, but she could not force him to attend.

“We haven’t got any control, but we are being prosecuted,” she said.

“How do you forcibly get them out of bed, into school and keep them there, and even if they are there, how do you make them learn? I just don’t understand what they want us to do.”

Chalmers put much of her son’s problems down to lead poisoning from eating flakes of house paint as a baby. He was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) before starting school and has behavioural issues that have brought him close to expulsion.

At 14, he was diagnosed as dyslexic, but Chalmers said it was too late by then to make him want to be in school and learn.

“I was dropping him off, seeing him walk in and picking him up at the same place, only to find out later he had been bunking,” she said.

The former Aranui High School student was no longer enrolled at any school, but Chalmers had not been threatened with prosecution despite her son’s prolonged absence.

“There’s nothing I can do to stop it and it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

“I know I’m not the only one out there.”

Linwood College principal Rob Burrough said the move to heavier fines was positive, but cases needed to be looked at individually.

“Part of it is parental issues and part is student problems, so I think a $3000 fine will have some impact, but there needs to be a multi-pronged approach,” he said.

“Some parents have lost control of their children by their own admission, and so this is a burden for them.”

Linwood has been trialling anti-truancy programme Rock On, in which the Ministry of Education, police, Child, Youth and Family and truancy services work with the school and parents to get students back in school.

Canterbury police youth services co-ordinator Senior Sergeant John Robinson said police were working on their third prosecution this year for parents of truants.

“We’ll never prosecute anyone if the child is the issue, only if the parent is the issue,” he said.

Heavier fines sent a message to people that attending school was a priority.

“No parent wants to be held out there having to front up before the court and told they are not a particularly good parent because they can’t get their kids to school,” Robinson said.

Concerned teachers seek police help

Perhaps schools are the wrong place for these children.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10535486&ref=emailfriend

Concerned teachers seek police help

4:00AM Friday Oct 03, 2008
By Martha McKenzie-Minifie
Teachers are asking for more help from police to handle students who act up in class, as they abandon a suggestion to establish “timeout rooms” in high schools for troublemakers.

A new disruptive students paper by the Post Primary Teachers Association’s Hutt Valley region showed teachers faced verbal abuse, physical attacks in class and had students turn up with weapons or high on drugs.

A survey, released at this week’s PPTA conference, found almost one in 10 teachers surveyed were frightened of students with severe behaviour problems.

Hutt Valley region executive member Martin Henry said delegates yesterday voted to pressure the Government to call a conference where teachers, police, Child Youth and Family and other groups could work directly together.

“It’s not just teachers that are going to solve this problem – there’s a whole lot of societal factors that come in as well,” said Mr Henry. “These students don’t come to schools without a whole lot of issues.”

He said the earlier suggestion to push for timeout rooms in secondary schools as a place to send problem students in the heat of the moment was yesterday withdrawn.

“They were looking at the room and it’s not the room that’s the important thing – it’s what you do with the kids,” said Mr Henry.

Members also voted to push ahead with a controversial plan for the PPTA to work to amend legislation to allow information sharing about students with a history of high-risk behavioural problems that may put members of a school at risk.

Mr Henry said teachers were frustrated to discover new students had behaviour problems they were not warned about because of privacy laws.

“It’s not about blacklisting kids or schools, it’s about doing better things for them.”

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