Waikato Times 16 May 2012
Schools are under increasing pressure to manage serious social problems that should be the responsibility of parents, Waikato secondary principals say. Teachers are expected to assume the role of educator, social worker, counsellor, police officer, parent, and even dietician as they pick up the pieces of dysfunctional families and overloaded social services. Many were forced to wade in on problems outside their expertise, including substance abuse, sexual misconduct, medical and legal matters.
…. Secondary Principals’ Association president Patrick Walsh said teachers were not trained to do it – “they’re trained to teach”. Expecting school staff to deal with drug dependency, substance abuse, violence and custodial battles was “unrealistic” and “impaired students’ learning”, he said. “It means they have less time to deliver the curriculum.” He said the responsibility should fall on parents, and not teachers, to curb serious problems with their children. “I think the Government needs to take the spotlight off schools and start focusing on the families that are failing their own children. Students who come to school, who have serious anger management issues, or sexually deviant behaviour, they’re not caused by school, we deal with the effects of them.”