'We can't even break up a fight' - Teachers frustrated with restraint guidelines

Primary school teachers are at their wits' end when it comes to dealing with violent and disruptive students.

They say tough rules around restraining children mean pupils throwing chairs around and ripping things off the wall can't be stopped.

Teachers in Northland have written to the president of their principals' association, Pat Newman, after he asked what issues they were facing since new rules on physically restraining children were brought in last August.

They said children were trashing classrooms and pouring drinks onto workbooks. They were punching computer screens and threatening children with scissors.

Because they were not causing any harm to other children or themselves teachers felt they were unable to stop them.

Teachers had been told they couldn't touch children, Ruakaka Primary School's principal Marilyn Dunn said.

"If a child decides to, for instance, throw things at other children all around the room, what we're told to do is let him do it and take all of the other children out of the way so [they] don't get hurt.

"So if he wants to throw iPads and break things you've got to allow him to do that and walk out with the rest of the children and wait for the child to calm down."

In the 'old days', things were easier, she said.

"When we were able to sensibly restrain a child we would remove the child who was throwing things around so they didn't disturb the other children's learning,and we would calm them down out of the classroom.

"We can't do those kinds of thing now, we can't even break up a fight."

Teachers felt at risk, and that they could not keep other children safe, Ms Dunn said.

Principal's Federation president Whetu Cormick said children were learning they could get away with certain behaviour.

"And the ridiculous thing about this is that, in society, if a young person or an adult was to cause damage in the street, smashing shop windows for example, that person would be arrested.

"In a school environment you can't restrain a child if they're going to smash a window, or if they're going to throw a chair around."

There should be a review of the guidelines, Mr Cormick said.

That call is echoed by teachers, and heeded by the Ministry of Education.

The ministry will hold meetings with a focus group to refresh the guidelines, Katrina Casey, the ministry's deputy secretary of sector enablement and support, said.

The principal of Wellington's Berhampore School, Mark Potter, said he hoped those changes would include a dose of common sense.

"Because the real danger is - I have heard people say, our school's decided that there will be no touching children full stop.

"Now I think that's a society being created where children are not allowed to have contact with adults."

Ms Casey said in a statement that children should only be physically restrained as a last resort.

In reviewing the guidelines the ministry would talk about the actual scenarios schools were facing.

Ms Casey said it was clear in the guidelines a teacher could use physical restraint if they believed there was a serious and imminent risk to the safety of the student or others.

- By Laura Dooney

rnz.co.nz

Close up shot of pencils in classroom
Source: Te Karere



Great Barrier Island man whose truck battery blew up in his face flown to hospital

A Great Barrier Island man whose truck battery blew up in his face this morning has been flown to Auckland Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

At 9.15am, a rescue helicopter crew was called to Great Barrier Island after the man suffered multiple burns to his body.

He is in Auckland Hospital in a moderate condition. 

Source: 1 NEWS


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NZ Wars should be taught in schools, historian argues - 'They’re more important that WWI and WWII'

The New Zealand Wars had more impact on Aotearoa than the world wars and the conflict needs to feature more in the school curriculum, says historian and campaigner Vincent O’Malley.

Mr O’Malley, the author for the Great War of New Zealand, says criticism that the topic is boring is unfounded and the young people he’s spoken to around the country understand why it is important to know about the New Zealand Wars.

“They’re really comfortable with accepting the need to embrace these difficult parts of our history as a crucial part of the process of growing up and maturing as a nation,” Mr O’Malley told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

“These wars had a profound effect on New Zealand history, in some respects I’d argue that they were more important than World War I and World War II in terms of the impacts that they had.”

As it stands currently, Mr O’Malley says New Zealand has high-autonomy curriculum where schools and teachers decide what is taught.

This means students often leave school with no knowledge of the New Zealand Wars, information that Mr O’Malley says can help young people make sense of the world.

“The only NZ history that’s in the curriculum is in year 10 social studies, that’s something about the Treaty of Waitangi that needs to be taught.

“The story of the New Zealand Wars is really part of the story of the treaty, because the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 didn’t change everything overnight.

“In most areas, Māori continued to manage their own affairs as they always had, so really the New Zealand Wars are about a battle between two competing visions of what New Zealand was and what it could become.

“On one hand, Māori ideas or expectations of partnership, on the other hand Crown and Pakeha came to NZ and thought they would be in charge and arrived and discovered they weren’t, so the wars were about the Crown’s attempt to impose its authority over the country and to eliminate Māori rangatiratanga.”

Mr O’Malley said many modern issues such as Māori poverty cannot be understood fully without knowing about the New Zealand Wars.

“One of the examples I cite is we can’t really understand contemporary Māori poverty without understanding the background to that, which is that the NZ Wars and the subsequent land confiscations of millions of acres of land condemned generations of Māori to lives of poverty.”

“That’s something that resonates over many, many generations and we need to understand that background.”

The other important part of that story which people don’t widely appreciate is before the 1860s, before the main period of the NZ Wars, Māori were the leading drivers of the NZ economy, most of NZ’s export income was being derived from Māori and that is destroyed, almost overnight, by the course of these wars.

“That’s not widely known and widely appreciated.”

"They're more important that WWI and WWII," Vincent O'Malley argued on TVNZ1's Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

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Electrocution deaths of 11 cows on Northland farm prompts safety warning

The electrocution deaths of 11 cows on a Northland farm has highlighted the importance of safety on farms, Federated Farmers said in a statement.

The cows were killed on a Dargaville farm this week after a fallen power service line sagged onto a live 400-volt line nearby, arming it.

"My condolences to the farmer concerned. It must have been awful to see the animals like that," Federated Farmers Northland Provincial President John Blackwell said.

"It is my understanding it was the farmer’s responsibility to remove the downed line.

"Even if people think lines are disconnected they can still be deadly. Get onto health and safety problems when you know about them - do not procrastinate."

File image of cows on a field.


National criticise 'incompetent handling' of CTO job offer, then retraction

National have hit out at the $100,000 sting for the taxpayers over the "incompetent handling" of the chief technology officer role, after the position was scrapped by the Government. 

National's State Services spokesperson Nick Smith said the role was budgeted at costing over $500,000 per year, but an offer to Derek Handley was then retracted by the Government. 

"The process around appointing a CTO has been a shambles from the beginning," he said. "It involved secret meetings and emails, the resignation of Minister Clare Curran and now we're paying Derek Handley around $100,000 for a job he never even started.

"The Government should apologise to taxpayers for wasting their money and Mr Handley for wasting his time."

Today the Government confirmed it put a "full stop" on the process of CTO, and the new Digital Services Minister Megan Woods confirmed Mr Handley would be paid out $107,500.

Greg Boyed talks to tech entrepreneur Derek Handley about his continued interest and investment in New Zealand – and his fellowship for exceptional young Kiwis.
Source: Q+A

"As the new Minister I have asked officials to review the CTO role and provide advice on the best ways to drive a forward-looking digital agenda for New Zealand," she said. 

Mr Handley wrote in a statement he and his family "decided not to accept the settlement money personally and instead donate the net proceeds towards a fund that supports ideas, programs and grants that seek to tackle this societal issue in creative ways. I welcome collaboration from all communities on how we may do that".

The latest developments come after MP Clare Curran was stripped of her position as Minister for Government Digital Services after not disclosing a meeting with Mr Handley previously.

A delegation from GM-free Hastings met with the Environment Minister over reforms they say will destroy their export markets.
Nelson MP Nick Smith. Source: 1 NEWS