7 September, 2011
PPTA calls on government to tackle bullying
PPTA President Robin Duff said the report issued by the Ombudsmen’s Office on bullying at Hutt Valley High School
illustrated a systemic failure by the Ministry of Education and the wider government to support schools with bullying.
“Hutt Valley High School were left to reach a crisis point and were neglected by the ministry,” said Duff.
Duff said it was impossible to look at bullying as an issue isolated to Hutt Valley - “teachers across New Zealand have
asked for help with student behaviour for years,” he said.
Duff said the PPTA members had been calling for support for schools since early 2000 and a number of conference papers
had provided an analysis of the issues and had repeatedly called governments to step up and show leadership.
“Dealing with difficult students requires a range of government agencies to work together. It requires a sophisticated
level of collaboration and leadership and adequate funding.”
“Intervention should occur as early as possible and PPTA want to see the implementation of evidence-based programmes
coordinated by the state agencies involved”.
Duff said Tomorrow’s Schools created a lack of transparency due to competition for students.
“No one is going to put up their hand for help if it meant negative messages in the media that could threaten its
enrolment numbers,” he said.
“The ministry pressures schools to keep students at school knowing that it is putting other students and teachers at
risk because it has nothing realistic in place that works to tackle bullying,” said Duff.
He said Chief Science Advisor, Peter Gluckman’s advice to the government to use proven programmes to properly support
troubled youth had not been taken seriously by the government.
“PPTA guidelines advise teachers not to do duty in areas of the school where they feel unsafe. It’s not right to put
teachers’ safety at risk because the Ministry has nothing realistic in place that works to tackle bullying.”
“The safety of teachers is paramount and the lack of action from the ministry is putting teachers at risk.”