Posts Tagged ‘School’

Stop beating on Sweden’s parents!

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Stop beating on Sweden’s parents!

By Caroline Olsson

Translation: Ruby Harrold-Claesson, Lawyer, President of the NCHR

This article was previously published on the Swedish Internet Site, – 2009-12-03

Swedish authorities and legal institutions have a negative attitude towards parenthood, which is not good for the relationship between children and parents. Many children need more time with their parents to feel safe. Now the government intends be even stricter with school attendance, and even prevent parents who want to take care of their children’s schooling, so-called Home-schooling. They are also negative to children’s absence from school for travel with their families, and in general they announce “tougher measures” which will not help the confused children.

Children need their parents as life-coaches, but there is so little time in today’s stressful society. Children need a solid relationship with an adult to find their identity, and develop their personalities in a natural way.
Swedish society does not respect parenthood. Parents are seen as some sort of service to the school system, which will ensure the provision of children who are rested, fed, have done their homework and are interested in going to school.

I am sure that very many of the problems of today’s society, have arisen precisely because time for children and parents to be together has shrunk. This has happened gradually, and perhaps imperceptibly. We have given priority to other things, and now we need to wake up and see that too many children are suffering.

Those in power do not see this connection, so now they want to legislate more stringent attendance at school and even “tougher measures”. They want to prevent parents who have the opportunity to take responsibility for their children’s schooling, so-called Home-schooling, by requiring “special reasons”. It will also be more difficult to get time off from school for example to travel with the family. They have not tried to find out how very many children suffer today in the schools, due to bullying, harassment, and the like. Politicians talk about the “right to education”, as if there are no problems in the schools. Many children and young people are experiencing the “right” to attend school and social interaction, which the politicians are talking about, rather like a prison and a torment. A very large proportion of children today are exhibiting anxiety about going to school.

Politicians say: “We must have schools, because we have had them since the 1800s.” Usually it would not be so modern for you to say that something is from the 1800s. We are living in a completely different society now. Back then they wanted to increase public knowledge. But now the level of education of most adults is much higher than primary school, so now there is no reason to force all children to go to school, if the parents have other options.

The Government’s new Education Act Bill sends out a very serious message to all the parents in this country. We are now being prohibited from giving our children a better alternative to going to school. Parents are simply not allowed to judge what is good for their own children.

Sweden needs a new approach to parenthood. We need to see parents as experts on their children. The solution is not to pull children away from their parents even more, but to support children and parents, to make use of all the time they can get to spend together.

Sweden is selling out the immense power that parents’ responsibility for their children represents. This is a disaster. We cannot afford to do without it. It is upon that power that a society rests. If you who are in power continue to display this negative attitude, you will undermine the whole society. You cannot replace parenting by doubling the number of school nurses and counsellors. Parenthood cannot be substituted at all. Your animosity towards parents will only cost countless extra billions.

CYFS probe traumatises family

Monday, July 27th, 2009

CYFS probe traumatises family

4:00AM Tuesday Jul 28, 2009
By Simon Collins

Erik was investigated by Child, Youth and Family Services after he smacked daughter Abigail.

Erik was investigated by Child, Youth and Family Services after he smacked daughter Abigail.

Your Views Have you changed your habits since the smacking law? Tell us your stories

The Herald is running a week-long series on the smacking debate. To tell us your stories, go to the Your Views discussion. Or you can follow the debate on our facebook page.

“After our poll on Saturday we’re covering Monday what parents think:
TUESDAY: Victims of the law
WEDNESDAY: Children have their say
THURSDAY: How teachers see it
FRIDAY: The official view – police and CYFS
SATURDAY: How will politicians respond

A father says his family were left traumatised and his elder daughter tearful after Child, Youth and Family Services investigated a smack.

Parents Erik and Lisa toured the world for years with the Christian theatre group Covenant Players, presenting plays to schools and church groups on themes such as self-esteem, peer pressure, resolving conflict, bullying and addiction.

“Before we had children, I read a number of books on strong-willed children by [Christian author Dr James] Dobson and others,” says Erik.

“In the back of my mind there was the suspicion that those children were not being raised right, that if they had loving parents who were consistent with their discipline, they would turn out to be good kids.

Erik said he and Lisa had never had any problems with their elder daughter, who will soon be 13. “And then we had Abigail.”

Abigail, now 10, “from day one has known exactly what she wanted and been very insistent on getting it”.

“She will no doubt make a fantastic leader one day,” her father said.

But right now she’s a challenge. “There are times when my wife and I are at our absolute wit’s end.”

Last November, they took her to a child mental health service to get help. Health workers noted a bruise on her back that had been caused by tripping over a vacuum cleaner.

Two days later, Abigail had what her father calls “a massive meltdown, banging her bunk against the wall and calling my wife evil”.

“I said, ‘Either your behaviour stops or you’re going to get a smack’,” he said. “She started kicking at me. I grabbed hold of her ankle and smacked her bottom.” Two of his fingers went above the line of her belt, leaving red marks on her back.

The smack worked. She stopped kicking and was soon apologetic.

But the mental health service was about to give her a full medical examination. Lisa told a nurse about the red marks and the smack.

A few days later, at 3pm on a Friday, CYFS staff rang. They had received a claim of abuse and they wanted the children out of the house while they investigated.

The parents protested, but were told they had no option. They found friends to take the two girls for the weekend.

On the Monday, CYFS spoke to the older daughter at school and left her in tears. Late that afternoon, social workers visited the family, realised there had been a mix-up between the red marks and the bruise from the vacuum cleaner, and closed the case.

Far from protecting the children, CYFS made things worse, Erik says.

“Abigail went round locking the doors one night because she was afraid someone was going to come and take us. Our eldest would wake up at all different hours and had trouble going to sleep.”

Erik himself had to take leave from work, complaining to CYFS: “I am angry, have difficulty completing simple tasks, have several times come close to bursting into tears and at least once have actually done so.”

* CYFS will respond on Friday.

Read Big News on this:


Monday, July 27th, 2009


By Stephen Dol NZCBC, Research Analyst.
Michael Jackson sung the song “Bad”, which really meant “Good”. That’s confusing and so is the opposition to the referendum. To clarify this it is important to highlight two separate issues in the debate – 1) dysfunctional violent abuse and 2) the purpose of authority within a family to govern and when necessary, enforce. The confusion has been created by the violent abuse lobby who have merged the assumption that physical discipline to correct boundary and  behaviour encroachments is dysfunctional violent abuse, which it is not.
The question is…
Let’s use the dictionary definition for abuse i.e. “to treat badly”. The question then becomes “Is physical discipline bad treatment of a child”. To answer this we need to assess the outcome, i.e. how well will a child who is loved and  disciplined transition into adulthood as a responsible balanced citizen? and what is the effect of a smack on this transition? The outcome shows the violent abuse theory to be out of kilter with reality, regarding boundaries and behaviour development, in caring homes. Why? Because till now, too many kids coming from these homes are succeeding in life. To spurn the collective wisdom and observations of hundreds of generations of families is to say that they got it wrong. This is crazy talk.
The ugly picture
What constitutes abuse, are cases such as Nia Glassie, the Kahui twins and similar reports. There is no question about these delinquent, evil and wicked cruelties and they must be dealt with. But this is not what the authority to govern in a family is about and the examples given are tactical manipulation because they muddy relatively clear waters.
Our beloved schools
What ever the view you take, the school system is the best recent example of what happens when the authority to govern is removed from the governing body. This happened in the 1980’s and almost 30 years later we are clearly seeing the effect of that change. The DomPost (24 June 2009) reported in the article “Mother punches school head”, that there were 6995 violent incidents this last year by students in schools, of which 815 were inflicted on teachers, (part of the governing body). On top of this there is no account for the daily foul gestures, verbal, manipulative, behavioural and psychological abuses. The report went on to say, “…fortunately these events are relatively  infrequent”. I don’t know about you, but 41 acts of violence per school day (5 directed at teachers) is not infrequent. The mechanisms for dealing with it are toothless (ask your teenage college kids or other students, I did. They think it is a joke). In today’s pop culture, violence in schools seems to be considered normal and par for the course of being a teacher. The estimated cost of this abuse to the tax payer, is $6.2m per year in ACC claims and medical costs (this does not account for expenses associated with the violence such as lost teaching time, counselling and time wasted dealing with the problem or the families who are unable to control their kids). This rouses no reaction, disgust or shame from the “yes” vote referendum campaigners, yet we are asked to shoulder this burden, every year without complaint. Is this right?
A parking lot at home
Worse than this, the school experience has been permanently embed in law with regard to family governance and that is discouraging and outrageous. We can expect in due course that the school experience will park itself in our homes, as the tweenies, twitters and tweeties enjoy the protection of the enforcement arm of the law to freely in some cases, turn their violence on their parents. In others to roam unrestrained in their anti social behaviours. Why? Because central government does not appreciate the effect of what has happened as a result of usurping the support the families need for authority in order to govern and enforce. Parents have a responsibility at times to enforce good behaviour in and outside their homes. The government would never dream of taking away such authority from the police and the far stronger measures of enforcement, such as pepper spray, handcuffs, tasers, riot gear, the AOS, etc. That is the real world we live in, but at the back of my head I hear the shout about alternative discipline advice. The problem is, on its own, it is not working at school and it isn’t working at home.
The death that ended the war
Violent abuse is a real issue. The attempt to address it however, is directed at the wrong cause. It is a social issue that has gained momentum on the back of the Culture Wars of the 1960’s & 70’s.  The DomPost (02 June 2009) reported in the article “A death (Michael Jackson) that ended the great war”, that it is now considered a war won by popular culture and its associated values.  What is popular culture? – among many other things it is: “I disregard authority; I have the rights; don’t restrain me in any way whatsoever; promises are for breaking; commitment is a big word;
and what defines a family anyway? ”What it ought to be is: “Respect for order by respecting authority; acknowledging my responsibilities; restraining my base desires for the good of the community; making honourable commitments; action not intent; and reinforcing family structure”. The drinking age debate and the associated property, violence and sex crimes (reported DomPost 13 July 2009, “Dark side – Girls night out”) is just one of many examples of the cultural confusions we have inherited from this “victory”. The “safe everything” message is another.
The cultural abuse instrument
So, what about the abuse? The Cultural Revolution has become the abusive instrument (bad treatment of others) because of what it stands for and what it promotes, what it sows and what it then reaps – and that issue is not being accosted. On this basis (yes even in the absence of smacking), the issue that is trying to be addressed (abuse) is self defeated by pop cultures new moral baseline and that will go on unabated until we stop and take stock of what has happened. I suspect it will be with us for some time to come – till society can bear it no more.
“Do as I say not as I do”
As for the detractors of the referendum, there isn’t much to say really except, it is not enough to, “Do as I say and not as I do”. Pop culture will turn a blind eye to behaviours regarding leadership and consistency. Bill Clinton is the classic pop culture politician who demonstrated his cock up and avoidance through technicalities in his embarrassing string of public denials. Such world views make it necessary to adhere to the “Do as I say” adage. But true public leaders, in all facets of life must lead by example. Too many bear the opposite hallmark, and so they credibly can’t. By the next election numerous will have fallen – it has already begun. Not getting caught doesn’t make the erosion any less cancerous.
Muted criticism and deflating support
Finally John Key responded to the referendum question, leading up to the last election, by saying and I quote, “That National’s view on S59 was clear but the issue for us in this case is about democracy – the right of the people of New Zealand to be heard whether or not politicians like what they are being told. Helen Clark has again demonstrated arrogance with her use of a technicality to not let New Zealanders have a say on the matter”. The question now is, has John Key been poisoned by the same political wine and become drunk too, with that power? He stood shoulder to shoulder with the detractors, to mute the descent and deliberately deflating the support for the referendum by saying “We don’t plan to change anything anyway”. How discouraging for confidence in the democratic process of this country. The recent folic acid in bread reports demonstrates how stupefied and impotent central government has become. The government can’t even resist the demands of another country. They have been hijacked by cretins who are more interested in bureaucratic participation in the meddling of foreign nations in our affairs, than they are in the interests of the people they govern.
Let Right be Done
Now we all have to decide and choose. I have said before “Let Right Be Done”. It needs to happen now. It’s time to start the process of taking back our country from this new breed of Monarchy and Lords. – It seems that “No” might still be in fashion after all.

© July 2009, Stephen Dol. All rights reserved.
You are free to disseminate this document provided it is cited in context and due credit is given to the author.

Mum fearful of school fines

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

By REBECCA TODD – The Press | Friday, 26 December 2008

A Christchurch mother is angry at the prospect of having to pay heavy fines because she cannot get her son to go to school.

Under new laws passed by the National-led Government, parents of truants can be fined $300 for the first offence and $3000 for subsequent offences.

They can also be fined $3000 if they fail to enrol their child in school.

In the past, parents could be fined $150 for the first offence and $400 for subsequent offences.

Michelle Chalmers said her 14-year-old son had not been in school for much of this year, but she could not force him to attend.

“We haven’t got any control, but we are being prosecuted,” she said.

“How do you forcibly get them out of bed, into school and keep them there, and even if they are there, how do you make them learn? I just don’t understand what they want us to do.”

Chalmers put much of her son’s problems down to lead poisoning from eating flakes of house paint as a baby. He was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) before starting school and has behavioural issues that have brought him close to expulsion.

At 14, he was diagnosed as dyslexic, but Chalmers said it was too late by then to make him want to be in school and learn.

“I was dropping him off, seeing him walk in and picking him up at the same place, only to find out later he had been bunking,” she said.

The former Aranui High School student was no longer enrolled at any school, but Chalmers had not been threatened with prosecution despite her son’s prolonged absence.

“There’s nothing I can do to stop it and it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

“I know I’m not the only one out there.”

Linwood College principal Rob Burrough said the move to heavier fines was positive, but cases needed to be looked at individually.

“Part of it is parental issues and part is student problems, so I think a $3000 fine will have some impact, but there needs to be a multi-pronged approach,” he said.

“Some parents have lost control of their children by their own admission, and so this is a burden for them.”

Linwood has been trialling anti-truancy programme Rock On, in which the Ministry of Education, police, Child, Youth and Family and truancy services work with the school and parents to get students back in school.

Canterbury police youth services co-ordinator Senior Sergeant John Robinson said police were working on their third prosecution this year for parents of truants.

“We’ll never prosecute anyone if the child is the issue, only if the parent is the issue,” he said.

Heavier fines sent a message to people that attending school was a priority.

“No parent wants to be held out there having to front up before the court and told they are not a particularly good parent because they can’t get their kids to school,” Robinson said.

Home discipline still a hot topic

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Home discipline still a hot topic

4:00AM Saturday Oct 25, 2008
By Carroll du Chateau

In a year when the morals and ethics of our political parties seem at an all-time low, voters are focused on policies sidling into our sitting rooms.

Many morally contentious issues are designated conscience votes by political parties, meaning their members do not have to vote along party lines.

The anti-smacking bill proposed by Sue Bradford of the Greens and finally cobbled together by Helen Clark and John Key started out as a conscience issue and ended up as a party vote for Labour, National and the Greens, who voted 100 per cent in favour.

Meanwhile, there was overwhelming opposition to the bill out in the community. Parents do not want the Government telling them how to parent. They say loss of discipline at home contributes to bad behaviour, out-of-control youngsters and, eventually, rising crime.

Many say the Government is sending the wrong message to the young.

“The idea that smacking should be against the law is ridiculous,” says Rodney Hide who, as leader of Act, stands for individual freedom and personal responsibility. “The fact that a small smack on the bottom should be up there with bashing kids with a pipe offends me.”

Mr Hide’s position is echoed by Richard Lewis of the Family Party (a Christian offshoot of last election’s Destiny Party) and Bob McCroskie of Family First. While Mr McCroskie’s organisation is a pressure group rather than a political party, it has signed on as a Third Party and is spending a chunk of its allocated $120,000 to push family values – and undermine this legislation.

Mr McCroskie says the law sends an underlying message that parents aren’t really in charge. “Kids are saying, ‘You can’t tell me what to do!’ We need to establish parenting within the law and parents don’t feel they’ve got it.” He talks about a consistent message (feeding through legislation) that we don’t rate parents.

“We don’t recognise parenting as a career choice. The message is, ‘If you want to be a contributing member of society, get yourself a real job.”‘

He is talking about paid parental leave, 20 hours’ free childcare and all the other measures designed to make it easy for mothers to go back to work.

Mr Lewis insists the old legal defence in smacking cases “never protected anyone from child abuse. I think this bill exposes parents unfairly. There are reports of children turning up to school with innocent scrapes and bruises and being asked, ‘Did your parents do it?”‘

Sue Bradford fervently disagrees. A mother of five, she insists she is a staunch defender of the family. “It’s the ability to beat your children that undermines the family.” She also defends the Parental Notification Bill, which allows teenagers under 16 to have abortions without their parents being aware of them. “My belief is that a woman’s body is her own.” ‘

Less high-profile is the ethical issue around the refusal to pay parents and family caring for disabled children and adults, while professional carers qualify for funding. The practice was challenged in a tribunal hearing brought against the Ministry of Health by the Director of Human Rights Proceedings on grounds of discrimination against parents and families.

While all parties except Labour express concern at the unfairness of the law, only the smaller parties are prepared to change it. United Future would introduce a caregivers’ allowance; the Maori Party would ensure disabled people and whanau could access support; the Progressives favour funding “as fiscal conditions permit”.

Labour, meanwhile, is committed to steering away from the issue, instead pledging to provide $37 million on extra daycare and respite services, family caregiver support, extra funding for home-based support services plus wider criteria for the DPB so low-income couples and sole parents could receive extra support to care for sick or disabled children.

One ethical area where the larger parties are taking a risk is with gangs. Gangs are seen as an integral part of our social fabric and stopping people gathering together breaches ethical boundaries. The proliferation of P has Labour and National talking about cracking down on gangs – again putting them out of step with Christian parties who claim the Government should focus on eliminating drug dealing rather than the gangs themselves.

Another matter bothering Mr Hide is the issue of self-defence “Some things are worse than being charged: A, being a wimp and B, being dead.”

* Since the law came in

Sixteen months after the law change in May last year, eight parents have been prosecuted. One received diversion, one was discharged without conviction and six cases are yet to be resolved.

This, says John Key, supports the view that the law is being well administered by police.

A petition for a referendum on the legislation, which asked the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” gained 390,000 signatures, 310,000 of which were judged valid. To trigger a referendum, 10 per cent of registered voters (285,000) need to sign it. The referendum will be held next year.


From a link above:

National: Anti-smacking legislation to stay.