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National response needed to school violence

National response needed to violence and disruption in schools – Maori Party

Te Ururoa Flavell, Education spokesperson               3 September 2008

Violet and disruptive behaviour at school is a symptom of deep and complex issues in communities and within families, which need urgent attention, according to the Maori Party.

Education spokesperson Te Ururoa Flavell says it is a nation-wide issue that needs a national response, from government, schools, community groups and all families.

“Students need inspirational teachers who care for them – that’s what we all want,” said Mr Flavell, himself a former teacher and principal.

 “We commend the efforts of teachers to address this through their union, but we don’t think the rest of us should expect teachers and schools to deal with this on their own. None of us can afford to leave the solution to someone else,” he said. 

“Teachers are at the chalk face, and they need support from their schools and employers. Schools in turn need lots of support from their communities. And as a nation, we need to support each other, with proper funding, resourcing and services to schools and communities, to tackle the root causes of disruptive behaviour.

 “Teachers, schools, whanau and communities understand their issues, and we are open to their suggestions. A plan may need specialist support services in schools as well as better pay for teachers on the front line.

“Longer-term, it’s about families finding ways to deal with violent behaviour, and communities embracing each other, valuing the work done by teachers in schools, and supporting their schools to be violence-free.

“The aim must be to create a productive and rewarding environment for teaching and learning. In some cases that may involve creating alternative models for education, finding ways to engage students and address the underlying causes of disruptive behaviour,” said Mr Flavell.


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