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NZPF President Highlights Violence In Schools

"I was deeply saddened to read the case of student violence at McKenzie College this week, highlighting again the prevalence of violence in schools which places teachers, staff and other students in danger," said Perry Rush, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF).

Rush has been calling for Ministers and the Ministry to step up and offer genuine, realistic support for traumatized young people in crisis so that they can undergo the specialized therapy they both deserve and need, for healing.

"I am sorry to say that the McKenzie College incident, in which a teacher was attacked with a saw, is not an isolated incident," said Rush.

The NZPF ran a survey of principals last year which resulted in principals reporting 680 different instances of student violence in schools which had caused physical and psychological harm to teachers, staff and other students.

"This situation cannot continue," said Rush. "As principals, we have an obligation under the Health & Safety in the Workplace Act to keep all staff and students safe when they are at school. When we are forced to enrol students, who require specialized therapeutic help for violent episodes, and are not receiving that help, we cannot guarantee the safety of others. That is fundamentally wrong," he said.

NZPF has been calling on Government to urgently act for the past 15 months. The system needs alternative options and greater resourcing. So far there is little indication that the Government is taking the issue seriously.

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