Press release 14th April 2017

Recent reports of excessive violence, amongst school children, towards teachers should come as no surprise, but more as a wake up call to parents and caregivers New Zealand wide. Violence by children in primary schools has reached breaking point for principals. Assaults include kicks to the groin, a pencil in the eye, furniture throwing and other violent behaviour.

The Principals Federation and the Educational Institute (NZEI) said their members were reporting a growing problem caused by deprivation and family dysfunction.

Wellington Principal Mark Potter said, “The more that families are under duress or under stress suffering from poverty the more you’ve got children who are actually experiencing those things and presenting at school with behaviours arising from that.”

Phil Palfrey, Auckland principal says, “There’s many factors, from the fact that they’re sometimes on devices all day long, they’re not getting enough sleep, they’ll have parents who abandoned them. There are so many boys who don’t have fathers or they have fathers who are just poor, poor role models. I’m just very sick of it.

“Helping children depended on parents who were willing to cooperate and the problem area was those families who refused to do that,” he added.

Meanwhile the Education Ministry says it is not aware of any research or statistics backing the principals’ claims.

“In recent years authority in the nation has been disempowered, which has encouraged anarchy,” says Conservative Party Leader, Leighton Baker. “But it’s not too late to change things. If we want happy, healthy children, who interact well then we must provide them with healthy families to develop and grow in. This requires a shift in focus from governmental control of children to equipping New Zealanders to be great parents. It requires us to acknowledge our responsibilities before rights and provide training for students in what a healthy relationship looks like.

“Encouraging adults to form exclusive faithful marriages is a key way to set up children for success, whilst ensuring support is put in place for people struggling in their marriages. Parental authority must also be re-established,” he adds.

“For 30 years various governments have forced their “devalue the family” agenda on New Zealand. It’s been an abject failure and it’s time it stopped and we got back to basics,” says Leighton Baker.