Following yesterday’s stabbing of Steve Hose, a 53 year old maths teacher at Te Puke High School, the Secondary Principals Association says that teachers need to have more power to protect themselves against violence in New Zealand’s classrooms.
It’s a far, far cry from the safe, low-crime image that the country tries to portray abroad.
The reality is that 777 teachers were assaulted at work during 2008-9. 442 of them required ACC funded treatment for their injuries and weapons are increasingly common in schools.
“Te Puke High School maths teacher Steve Hose, 53, was yesterday stabbed four times in the neck and shoulder with a 10cm kitchen knife by a 13-year-old student at the end of class.
Weapons, such as knives and screwdrivers were increasingly common in schools, association president Patrick Walsh told Radio New Zealand.
Teachers needed greater resources to protect themselves, he said.
Education Minister Anne Tolley today said measures where in place to reduce school violence.
A $45 million action plan launched last year was helping reduce disruptive behaviour, she said.
But not in secondary schools, it seems:
Post Primary Teachers’ Association president Kate Gainsford said the measures were effective at a primary level but violence in secondary schools continued to be a problem.
“School is supposed to be a safe sanctuary,” she said.
“There’s some serious work required.”
Mr Hose was not seriously injured in yesterday’s attack and was released from Tauranga Hospital in the afternoon.” (source)
The youth alleged to have been responsible for the stabbing at Te Puke High School is currently in the care of Child Youth and Family, he is unlikely to face criminal charges because he is only 13 years old.
Some schools in New Zealand already police officers based in them to help protect staff and students, South Auckland and Hamilton certainly do and towns like Rotorua would like to have them too:
John Paul College principal and Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand president Patrick Walsh said having officers in schools could help curb youth violence and change teenager’s perceptions of the law, the Rotorua Daily Post reported.
Some South Auckland schools have already have a permanent police presence.
Mr Walsh said police should take a hard line with all youth offending, even loitering or truancy, because it all led to more serious crime.
Many troubled young men lacked good male role models and police officers could change that, he said.
New Zealand Police Association president Greg O’Connor said ideally, police would be stationed within a variety of places and institutions.
“The most important place to have police is at three o’clock in the morning when people have a prowler on the back lawn,” he said.
“In an ideal world you’d have police in every shopping centre available to help people sort out their problems.”
Mr O’Connor said police in South Auckland schools had “worked quite well” but the best crime prevention measure “is a belief you’ll get caught”.
Well unfortunately that ‘belief’ didn’t stop either Mr Hose, or David Warren from being stabbed in front of their students. It didn’t protect Lois Dear from the youth that battered her to death in her classroom either. If school isn’t a safe place in New Zealand, a ‘sanctuary’, where is?
“While obviously, at some schools it would be something that could have real benefits … it still wouldn’t work if the bad kids at school weren’t getting caught for stealing cars in the weekend,” he said.
“It’s a balance up of nice-to-have with must-haves.”
We think that after this latest stabbing many teachers and parents would consider a police presence in schools to be a ‘must-have‘, or does New Zealand have to have a school yard massacre before something is done to curb the growing violence?
Bishop Viard College: Second Attack In A School This Week (Sept 2009) –
“The New Zealand Herald is this morning reporting another violent invasion of a school – Bishop Viard School in Porirua.
It’s too early to say whether this is a copycat of Tuesday’s invasion of Lynfield College, or whether it’s a manifestation of the rising violence in New Zealand’s schools. It comes just weeks after a massive brawl at an Auckland Grammar School v. Kelston Boys rugby match in which up to to 100 students and drunken spectators took part…”
North Shore school security guard mugged, shot in face (April 2010)
“An after hours security guard at Onepoto Primary School in the affluent suburb of North Shore, Auckland was shot in a the face after he was attacked by a teenager demanding money on Friday evening. Despite the guards protestations that he had no cash on him the young thug shot him four times in the face and arms with an airgun…”