Excluded teen 'needed more help'

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 09:00 02/08/2014
 Jamie Fergusson,
GRANT MATTHEW

PROBLEMS IN CLASS: Jamie Fergusson, 14, says he asked for help before he was excluded from Feilding High School. ‘‘They need to listen to students when things aren’t working out.’’

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Jamie Fergusson misses being at school and he misses his mates, but his former school probably doesn't miss Jamie's misbehaving.

The 14-year-old admits he's a clown who thrives on making others laugh by mucking around, even when it annoys teachers.

He was excluded from Feilding High School this year for continual disobedience, among other concerns. His discipline file lists ongoing defiance, disruptive and inappropriate behaviour, truancy, verbal assaults, lying, smoking, drugs, homework problems and bullying - but that's an exaggerated list, according to Jamie.

Since being excluded, Jamie has struggled to be accepted into other schools and now studies by correspondence.

"I can't blame anyone and say it's their fault I got kicked out, because in the end I was a right little s... ," Jamie said. "But I did try to change, and that's why I don't understand how I can get kicked out in year 10.

"I asked for help . . . they need to listen to students when things aren't working out."

Feilding High School offers guidance counselling, pastoral care and hosts meetings with parents before taking the problem to the board of trustees, which then operates a system akin to a judicial process before asking students to leave.

But, Jamie's dad, Wayne, said more could have been done to help his son. His problems stemmed from personality clashes with certain teachers and he needed more engagement, challenges in classes and tailored plans.

"Schools are regimented, there's rules and if you stick by them you're fine," he said.

"But the school didn't exhaust all their options to help him and that's part of their responsibility."

Principal Roger Menzies said different students were catered for, but some did not fit into the school environment safely.

"There was a significant track record of misbehaviours, he was given multiple opportunities to improve and there was a lot of time spent with that particular lad," Menzies said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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