Teachers protest at school violence

It is a daily struggle for teacher Judy Firkins to manage her 5- and 6-year-old children at Jean Batten School in Mangere. She has been punched, been struck by objects thrown at her and had to restrain children attacking other pupils in her decile 1 classroom. “How much more stress do we have to cope with and how resilient does a teacher have to be before we get practical help with these students?” she said in a passionate address to the New Zealand Educational Institute annual meeting in Wellington yesterday.

Union members at the meeting backed the institute’s report, which endorsed a wider community and Government response to a problem that had its roots outside the classroom. “We have to change the way people behave, we have to change the way people think, stop these kids from thinking it’s okay to behave like that,” said the institute’s national vice-president, Frances Nelson. She said the institute would now seek feedback from community groups and the Government on how to address the problem.

Teachers want rules over aggressive pupils
The Dominion Post Sep 25 07
Primary and intermediate schoolteachers say they need rules telling them how far they can go when restraining aggressive pupils, to avoid leaving themselves open to accusations of assault.
Bruises testify to classroom perils. The New Zealand Educational Institute voted unanimously at its annual meeting yesterday to lobby the Government for guidelines setting out teachers’ rights when physical restraint is needed.