Principal says child restraint rules heap more pressure on Northland teachers
ANorthland principal says calling police and excluding students is the only option when dealing with volatile children.
The comments from Pat Newman, Hora Hora Primary School principal and president of the Te Tai Tokerau Principals’ Association, come after two recent cases — one in Northland — where principals were investigated by police after restraining students.
Newman said restraint guidelines, which were introduced last year, already put pressure on teachers but when educators who follow guidelines are investigated anyway, like the two principals in question, it adds to that pressure.
“I’ve been thinking quite seriously about it and I think the only thing we can do is to start calling the police up for every incident.
“I think my advice to principals now would be ‘Don’t put your hand on any kid and if they’re going to be [volatile] all the time exclude them’,” he said.
Exclusion is when children 16 and under are formally removed from the school.
Newman said that, while no charges were laid against either principal, the impact of an investigation was huge.
“It’s soul-destroying. You start to question your own judgment, you start to really sincerely think about whether it’s worth doing the job because you’ve got a life, you’ve got a reputation, you’ve got a family to take care of.”
The child restraint guidelines were designed to support the Education Act which says staff must only restrain a child if the safety of the student or any other person is at serious and imminent risk.
They also require schools to notify, monitor and report on the use of physical restraint.
But Newman said the rules are not clear.
For example the guidelines say
You start to really sincerely think about whether it’s worth doing the job.
Principal Pat Newman
Juken NZ’s announcement that agreement had been reached with its employees’ unions, allowing plans for the refurbishing of its triboard mill in Kaitaia to proceed, was described by Mayor John Carter as the best news ever for the town.
“I am delighted. Absolutely stoked,” he said from Beijing where he is currently meeting potential investors in the Far North.
“This goes a very long way to securing the future of Kaitaia, and I can’t tell you how glad I am about that.”
Northland MP Matt King congratulated the company and the unions for working together to achieve the best possible outcome.
“The result is one that everyone can accept, and I’m delighted about that,” he said. “I’m sorry that some jobs will be lost, but the important thing is that the mill’s future is guaranteed long term, and that’s great news for Kaitaia.”
Juken ( JNL) told mill staff last month that it needed to make changes, including investing to refur- bish the plant and technology, to return it to profitability. Those changes would include some job losses.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones welcomed “a good outcome for Kaitaia” with about 10 workers ending up jobless — fewer than originally feared — and a multimillion-dollar investment in the mill’s future.
Initially 30 to 40 staff were to have lost their jobs in the modernisation and reduction from a sevenday-a-week operation to five.
However, he had been told about 30 workers had opted to retire, with entitlements, which meant fewer than 10 were left without work.
“So the figure is nowhere as intimidating as it was . . . It’s still not perfect, but given that they are going to continue operating the mill, modernise it and spend tens of millions of dollars, it’s a good outcome for Kaitaia.”
It was “tremendously positive” that union leaders, stakeholders and management had been able to agree, Jones said.
Continued manufacturing capacity in the Far North meant an alternative to “unfinished logs disappearing holus bolus overseas”.
It was also positive for Ma¯ori because a lot of trees came from tribal-owned land.
Jones said he had met the owners of Juken NZ who assured him their commitment to Kaitaia was solid but they still had concerns about future timber supplies.
Jones said he was working with Government colleagues, in particular Trade and Economic Development Minister David Parker, to see what could be done to ensure security of supply for local manufacturers.
New Zealand general manager Dave Hilliard said last week that the mill had to change to survive. That meant reducing from a 24/7 operation to 24 hours a day, five days a week to meet the challenges of log supply and product demand.
“For the long-term future of this mill, both sides have had to make compromises — workers here have always had a four days on, four days off shift pattern — and we thank E tu and First Union for their work to find a solution that works for its members and the plant,” Hilliard said.
“We’ve spent the past three weeks consulting with our people and the unions on the plan, including opening up voluntary severance to minimise the people impacted. Regrettably, some redundancies will occur under the proposal, but a number of people have indicated they would seek voluntary severance. ”
“JNL is committed to Northland, to securing long-term jobs for our people, and to growing domestic wood processing.”
The plan would resolve the major issues relating to plant, people and production that had seen the mill operating unsustainably. The machinery and technology would be refurbished, a process that would also addressing health and safety “challenges” at the ageing plant.
Production would be streamlined, and would match the supply of logs with demand for the mill’s product in New Zealand and Japan.
Hilliard added that one of the major issues facing the mill was a shortage of logs from Northland forests. The company was in discussions with the Government about how the shortage could be resolved.
Hora Hora Primary School principal Pat Newman says involving police is the only option in dealing with volatile kids.
The planned refurbishment of the triboard mill will help secure the future of Kaitaia.
Mayor John Carter