'Crisis in mental health' sees kids as young as seven being suspended, expert says

There is a "growing trend" of primary school-aged children being suspended for their behaviour, an expert says, with the culprit being a lack of funding.

Professor Peter O'Connor, speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme, said kids as young as seven are being suspended for disrupting others, hurting themselves or hurting other people - even teachers.

"Months and months of disruptions and schools are just saying look, for the benefit of other children in the schools we can't keep you here," Mr O'Connor said.

"There seems to be a growing trend."

Mr O'Connor said some of the blame lies with the previous government.

"There's a systemic issue and the issue really has been from nine years of the previous government really not investing or funding in special needs education - we have a crisis in mental health."

Professor Peter O'Connor says kids are being removed from school for the safety and wellbeing of others. Source: Breakfast