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Te Tai Tokerau Principals Press Release

As a principal of 41 years, I am fed up with the media driven harping, poor woe is me stories, around the exclusion of children from schools, and blaming them for this happening.

Let’s get a few things straight. Schools do not exclude children just because they feel like it!!

Schools work themselves silly trying to help these children and their whanau, often with little support from them, or the Ministries such as Health and Education.

The report today on the 100 children who in media hype have been kicked out of school, is a case in point.

It fails to ask some basic but very important questions.

(1) What was the behavior and its causes that made other children unsafe if the children excluded stayed in the school?

(2) What help has the Ministry offered those schools more than 1 hour a day Teacher Aide time when children are at school for 6 hours a day?

(3) Where are all the alternative therapies for those children we are talking about?

(4) Have whanau itself made any changes to their lifestyles and accepted help offered to them.

Schools are caught in the bind:-

- All parents expect their children to be safe at school.

- Health and Safety requires staff to be safe at work.

- Some of the laws and regulations such as restraint still presume teachers/schools are guilty from the start!

- Support advice and guidance for schools from specialists is almost nonexistent.

The NZEI report on Primary Staffing highlighted a lot of the solutions to these problems. If Governments want a system fit for all children, then it’s over to governments to fund and ensure what is required happens, rather than standing back and leaving schools to deal with every problem and then leaving them out in the cold to wear the blame!

Pat Newman President TTPA

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