Te Tai Tokerau Principal's Association president (and Hora Hora Primary School principal) Pat Newman has had enough of "media-driven, harping, poor woe is me stories" around the exclusion of children from schools, and blaming the schools.
"Let's get a few things straight," the principal of 41 years said last week.
"Schools do not exclude children just because they feel like it. Schools work themselves silly trying to help these children and their whānau, 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:
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"What was the behaviour and its causes that made other children unsafe if the children excluded stayed in the school? What help has the ministry offered those schools more than one hour a day teacher aide time when children are at school for six hours a day? Where are all the alternative therapies for those children we are talking about? Have whānau made any changes to their lifestyles and accepted help offered to them?"
Schools were caught in a bind, he added. All parents expected their children to be safe at school, and Health and Safety required staff to be safe at work, but some of the laws and regulations, such as those relating to the restraint of children still assumed teachers and schools were guilty from the start, and specialist support, advice and guidance for schools was almost non-existent.
"The NZEI report on primary staffing highlighted a lot of the solutions to these problems," Newman said.
"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."