Boys stood down from Cromwell school for fighting

Three boys from a Cromwell primary school have been stood down following a fight in the playground.
MARTIN HUNTER/FAIRFAX NZ.

Three boys from a Cromwell primary school have been stood down following a fight in the playground.

Three boys from a Cromwell primary school have been stood down following a fight in the playground.

Goldfields Primary School principal Sharon Booth said last Thursday there was a "disagreement" in the playground, witnessed by other children, which resulted in a "physical and verbal exchange".

"As per our school policy, there are serious consequences for behaviour which causes others to feel unsafe. Usually restorative practices are used to sort out disagreements and restore relationships, but in this instance, due to the intensity of the children's anger, it was decided that the boys involved would be stood down from school, to give us time to seek support to help them develop strategies to cope with social conflict."

"The stand down period also has given us the opportunity to reassure children and teachers that the safety of everyone at our school is paramount. Stand down is a last resort and used infrequently. We consider this to be very serious consequence for a primary aged child."

As well as being stood down, the school had requested Ministry of Education for funding to help support supervision of the boys.

"Ministry supports for schools include teacher aide funding which can be used for a variety of reasons. In this instance we gained funding to provide 1-1 supervision for two boys, during interval and lunchtime and to engage them in supervised activity during break times. The Ministry also provides support through the Special Education Services and the Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour to help children develop strategies to enable them to cope with conflict situations."

"Our community knows that we take any incidents involving harm between children very seriously, and we are proactive in putting supports in place which ensure the physical and emotional safety of all children at our school. Parents of children directly involved are fully informed and restorative practices are used. Our community supports any disciplinary actions that we have taken and know that if they have concerns, these will be addressed by the school."

In the school's latest newsletter it describes the incident as having caused "harm to others"

It is sad and stressful to all that we have had to deal with such a serious incident, but we are assured that we have appropriate processes in place to handle crisis situations should they occur. The attitude and behaviour of 98.8 per cent of our children has been exemplary, modelling the values we expect...All schools from time to time have school discipline issues that need to be managed. Our Board fully supports the actions that have been taken."

Ministry of Education acting head of sector enablement and support Susan Howan said the Ministry had provided about $700 to allow the school to provide extra supervision while they worked out a more comprehensive plan to deal with the situation.

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"From time to time every school encounters difficult situations in managing behaviour that they need some extra support with. Our role at these times is to provide some extra funding through our interim response funding to give schools the backup they need.

"We are confident in the principal's ability to manage this situation appropriately. We are continuing to stay in touch with the school and will work with the school to provide support if that is needed."

According the Ministry of Education's website a stand-down, for any student, can total no more than five school days in a term, or 10 days in a school year. 

 - Stuff

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