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Suspension Figures Point to Problems With System

Suspension Figures Point to Problems With System

Monday 20th Nov 2000 Donna Awatere Huata Media Release -- Education

ACT Education Spokesperson Donna Awatere Huata says figures she has obtained from the Government on the numbers of suspensions from New Zealand schools make disturbing reading and point to problems keeping our young people sufficiently interested in and committed to their education.

“In response to my Parliamentary questions the Education Minister has revealed figures which show that in the year to July there were 675 students suspended from primary schools and some 4,033 suspended from secondary schools.

“The reasons given for the suspensions show some alarming trends. Among secondary school students there were 1,360 suspended for drug use and 155 for alcohol. These are bad figures but, perhaps even worse is the fact that 80 of the 675 primary school pupils were suspended for using drugs – that’s 80 children aged 12 or less who were caught using drugs, while 24 were suspended for alcohol.

“The figures involving violence are no better. No less than 52 primary students – again children aged 12 or under - were suspended for physically attacking their teachers and 166 were suspended for assaulting other students. Among secondary students, 566 were kept away from school for assaulting other students and 78 for attacking staff.

“These figures show that all is not well in both our primary and secondary schools. Why are our young people behaving in this manner? It must surely be something to do with the education system itself.

“This Government must not stand by and watch our children developing patterns of behaviour which will harm their future prospects. Clearly not enough is being done to ensure that students are interested in what they are being taught and seeing the value of it. It appears that many of our young have too little respect for the education they are being provided with and it is up to this Government to implement measures that keep our children in schools – not on the streets – and make sure they receive a proper education,” Mrs Huata said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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