Who would be a school teacher these days? Recent disciplinary cases against teachers who restrained pupils from violence to themselves or others would put many good candidates for teaching off the job.

No wonder, as we report today, principals are pushing back against guidelines that are proving unfair to teachers, unduly disruptive for classes and invidious for those who must write a report on every incident involving physical restraint.

Unfair to teachers because physical restraint may be the only intervention that will stop a child out of control from doing serious physical harm. But teachers fearing the repercussions for their career are evidently choosing to remove themselves and all other pupils from the classroom rather than run the risk of a disciplinary proceeding.

This is ridiculous. The whole class is evacuated, its lesson probably abandoned, while the violent child is left alone in the classroom to run amok.


If this is a response to modern health and safety codes it is an over-reaction. If it reflects the law against parental violence passed 10 years ago, it is a perversion of its purpose. The law was never designed to stop a child being physically restrained from doing harm to itself or others.

If parents these days are liable to take a complaint against any teacher who touches their child in these circumstances, they should look at themselves. The child poses a greater threat to others than the teacher does to anyone.

It's time for the Education Ministry and principals to bring some common sense to classroom control.