Over the past week or so Kiwi’s and their adolescent children have come under fire with the mainstream media seemingly attempting to run interference for the countries department of education. One article of this nature and you could put it down to news and opinion. But when you get every mainstream newspaper printing articles that consist of teachers, head masters and school boards bitching about students then it starts to look like an orchestrated plan to grab public sympathy.
It begins to look even more so when most of the people doing the bitching are not actually complaining about students in general, although they do try to make it look that way, but are actually whingeing about students and their parents taking schools to task legally, using tha courts. This little bitch fest has come after a relatively small group of parents have issued court proceedings against schools, we suspect rightly so.
“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” ― Socrates
Schools need to understand that in this day and age when the ‘free’ educations of the past have long gone, then students and their parents expect to be treated equitably, not with the contempt befitting their social status as was often the case in a bygone era. That the education they are often paying handsomely for their off-spring to receive be delivered exactly as was promised in the schools often grandiose advertising (private or elite schools come with hefty term fee’s).
Having read the various articles penned by mainstream journalists it’s not only obvious that this was/is an orchestrated campaign, it’s also clear that the educators who have attempted to ingratiate themselves with the public using print media, appealing to what they have been informed are middle class values, so as to sell a cleverly designed on point message.
The formula that’s been used is straight forward enough, grab a teacher or Head master, inject a little old fashioned values crap and then introduce the crux by referencing the rowing debacle and court intervention that Christchurch’s prestigious St Bede’s College copped a few months back, then chat about how every other school is at risk, then point to a few of the more recent threats as if they are something that’s been undeserved.
The latest in this MSM splurge of bullshit articles appeared this morning, published by Fairfax media’s online shit-pile Stuffed.co.nz. As was to be expected it follows the same basic formula, as just described, as has every other;
Nelson College principal Gary O’Shea: School pupils are self entitled
The issues that lead students across New Zealand to wage wars on their schools through social media is nothing new, but their sense of entitlement is, a school principal says.
“The beards, the hair, the puffer jackets, the ‘I’m unhappy in my class because my teachers aren’t working hard enough’ – this isn’t new,” Nelson College headmaster Gary O’Shea said.
“These are literally daily things that happen, kids have always written essays in creative writing about uniforms and authoritarian teachers.”
O’Shea said students needed to be able to express themselves, and teachers should encourage them, but there needed to be processes and boundaries in place as well.
He said students had to be taught to respect a school’s cultural norms, which included its uniform regulations and behavioural expectations.
When a student would persistently break the rules, they were “stepping outside of the community … showing it is more important to the person as an individual to continue to disobey the cultural norm than to be in school.”
Parents siding with their children on those issues was becoming a problem, he said.
They would ask him what it had to do with their child’s education.
“It has a lot to do with education because it’s about buying into a community of learners, the community expectation is that we are a uniformed school and we create a settled, focused environment and a sense of belonging.”
A uniform gave a sense of belonging, but did not make a school any better than a mufti school, he said.
He said the students versus schools issues showed that some schools needed to be “more explicit on why they do things”.
O’Shea also found a growing sense of entitlement in young people, a “belief that what they want to happen needs to happen because I say so, also because of the ease of social media there is no need to have any dialogue beforehand.”
It was wanting “the phone, the freedom, the car and the teacher now”.
He was concerned that there was more backing from parents to support the sense of entitlement.
In the school’s recent newsletter to families, O’Shea urged parents to remember the school’s “high behaviour and discipline expectations”, and that parents should reinforce the expectations.
The letter also shared the school’s mobile phone policy. It said the school recognised phones were an integral part of the student’s social connection, but in class were an unnecessary distraction.
The use of phones is banned during class, phones were taken off students when they broke the rules, for three days or longer depending on how many times the student had been caught out.
O’Shea said even though the school was explicit about the phone rules, he had parents arguing with him over them, and had been physically threatened about them.
He said the worst example of parents backing their children’s sense of entitlement was the St Bede’s rowing case.
“It’s swung the wrong way. When I first started, parents would just back the teacher and the school irrespective, even if the school got the processes wrong.”
He said parents in the past feared speaking up, worried it would mean their child would be picked on by teachers, and he had worked hard to combat these fears.
O’Shea believed this changed for the betterment of everyone and gave students a voice, with parents coming into school talking and working through issues. However, it had shifted too far.
He said while the vast majority of parents were fine and saw the need for the rules and regulations, there was a “growing core of parents who don’t believe the school, they believed implicitly what their son says.”
When it came to social media and students across New Zealand using it to expound their views, he also wanted schools to have clear, positive expectations and that parents and students understand them.
There was not too much point worrying about boys taking their issues to social media and then ending up on the headlines.
“I think in the end that is the reality and the mouthpiece. I would hope that before going to that point that I was given an opportunity to make it right.”
SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE NEW TOILET WALL
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology lecturer Dr Donna Swift has researched the relationships between young people and social media. She had also followed the recent cases of students using social media to speak out on school policies.
“Social media is a tool. What drives the tool is the thought process before, now with social media it gets out there so much quicker and it can spread so quickly and get all these people ‘liking’ and putting their two cents worth in there. Before social media you wrote it on the back of the toilet wall or wrote a letter to the editor and it didn’t cover the same area.”
She worried social media was creating a culture of complainers.
For a complaint to be valid, it needed to be informed, and an alternative offered, so people can learn and things improve, she said.
People were more flippant with comments on the internet. She said it could lead to people not being as reflective or spending much time trying to understand issues.
Motueka High School board of trustees chair Ian Palmer said the puffer jackets issue his school had dealt with was part of a “proliferation” through New Zealand schools that showed the way students were interacting was changing drastically.
“Technology has made people less personal, it’s much easier to hide behind a phone or a computer.”
He said schools needed to ensure students were taught interpersonal skills, “to a large extent they are being eroded by society.”
He said all the cases were learning opportunities and the puffer jackets outcry showed the school needed to ensure its students knew how the student council worked, as students should go through that when they wanted to enact changes at the school.
He said it was great when students showed initiative, but “there are other ways to do things”.
“Kids are thinking of a different way of doing things these days, it tends to be a very individual approach rather than going and talking to people and solving things that way.”
We picked the above article not just because it was the most recent but because this principle Gary O’Shea is pig ignorant, despite trying to appear otherwise. The more than obvious amount of time he’s spent preparing to be photographed is a dead give away. O’Shea is apparently of the view that social media is the “New Toilet wall”, never mind that the online phenomena was responsible for toppling at least three Middle East dictatorships during the now infamous Arab spring. Then of course there is the scourge known a ISIS, born of that same turmoil.
O’Shea’s rant also seemed to best portray the sense of entitlement that New Zealand’s educators still appear to have when it comes to trust (others can be found in the bibliography below). In most other walks of life professionals understand that getting a client’s trust is something you more often than not have to work hard at.
O’Shea’s grandiose sense of entitlement and that of the other whinging teachers is extremely one-sided, the views of students certainly don’t appear, they were not asked to contribute it seems, there is no counter argument or even an alternative explanation offered by an expert, lets say a lawyer, that would adequately explain the increase in litigation, threatened court action or even why parents might be pissed off with there kids teachers.
The truth is that educational institutions are well aware of whats driving this behaviour. they are also doubtless aware that it’s a behaviour that will likely increase unless the schools themselves act to implement policy that results in the needs of students and their parents being met.
This bullshit strategy of an orchestrated proliferation of published attempts to humiliate the parents of students who have acted in defence of their children and their interests will in time be seen for what it is, a fucking scam. Education is no longer the domain of socialist utopian visionaries, there are no saints left, the Mother Mary McKillops, they all died off years ago, now dead and bury, some canonised for their efforts.
So this is obviously an attempt at public relations, to win the publics approval, albeit looking at the comments below the article, an attempt that in every case has quickly turned into a train wreck, with almost two out of three comments taking the piss out of O’Shea or criticising the school.
So who was it that thought it a good idea to publish this crap? Who was it that thought to contact the Headmaster of Nelson Boys College, Mr O’Shea? Was it the Fairfax journalist, Stacy Knott? Or was the newspaper in fact approached by someone paid to represent private schools? Well they all do seem to be top schools that are doing the whingeing!
Another of those nasty spin doctors perhaps, journalists who can’t get paid employment writing for a newspaper, so they end up working as “public relations consultants”. You know the type!
We here at LF wrote a scathing post a while back on the behaviour of a school board in attempting to bury historic child sexual abuse. No sooner had we published the story than we received a comment from one of the schools professional spin doctors. In that case the spin doctor was one Ivana Belich of the New Zealand School Trustees Association; New Zealand Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, The Dixon Case & The School Trustees Association – Was the “Fix” In?
The truth is that this Fairfax story like all of the others over the past week or so is undoubtedly the work of a spin-doctor or school association publicist. The common theme always seems to be a reference back to the St Bede’s college case.
So lets actually take a look at the St Bede’s college case, the values the school applied to their decision and the values that the media and self serving politicians are now attempting to flog in the hope tat they can hose the problem down.
Two boys, both students of St Bede’s College where on a sports related trip. At the airport both boys were acting the goat and decided to ride the luggage carousel. The incident was then reported back to the schools rector, who decided to punish the boys. This punishment was levied without trial, or the opportunity for the boys to explain themselves. The punishment was in fact out of all proportion to the alleged offending. In fact the fallout from the rectors decision then went on to ruin two other parties, one of which was the boys team coach, the man who had actually been their and dealt with the issue. In short, almost every one of the fundamentals of justice had been breached by the school.
The rational for this was that what the boys had done was serious, that it involved a breach of aviation security. Yet the boys do not seem to have been charged with any offence, why would that be? Probably because there was no real threat, or at least one where the authorities thought they would get home on a charge and conviction.
So the parents then took the school to task over its seriously flawed decision, the result, a high court intervention. In our view this was the appropriate course for the parents, they had every right to follow that path, even if for the only reason that it was an available option.
Now lets take a look at another case that’s actually remarkably similar. A case that if we were to apply the same set of values which the school has would probably be seen as a just result. Why? Because the offender was also a St Bede’s College student, but the offender was also at least thirty years older than the two boys around which all this fuss has been made.
We are of course talking about St Bede’s old boy Gerry “fatboy” Brownlee, member of Parliament and Minister of the Crown. Gerry Brownlee only fairly recently committed a remarkably similar but far more serious offence, also at an airport, where he also breached aviation security regulations, but arguably in a far more serious way and more importantly, undoubtedly with intent. Brownlee knew that what he was doing was in breach of the regulations, he just thought that he could get away with it because he was the Minister; then he lied about what had actually happened thinking that the aviation security staff who witnessed it would back him up…big mistake.
Brownlee’s breach should have resulted in him being sacked as a minister but he wasn’t, instead the story was soon hosed down and like all such incidents in New Zealand, where there is absolutely no ministerial accountability, it was swept under the carpet;
Teachers like Gerry Brownlee, yes he too was a teacher, whats more at St Bede’s College, have developed their own overblown sense of self-entitlement, so who exactly are the role models these two boys were supposed to live up to? Why were their schoolboy enthusiasm and shenanigans’ deserving of such a punishment when in fact only month beforehand a past teacher of the school, an old boy and Minister for Defence in the Government no less, simply walked away with a small fine, for all intents virtually scott free?
Offending of a similar nature by Australian Ministers, State of Federal, has always resulted in the sack, but not in little old New Zealand, which would explain why Brownlee was let off. Why is it that these so-called educators seem to think that school boys should be held to a higher standard than a minister of the crown? It’s an attitude that defies commonsense.
What also defies logic is that these teachers and head masters still believe that they are automatically deserving of TRUST and RESPECT, when for decades men and women just like them have been concealing child physical and sexual abuse. They also stand guilty as charged for dereliction of their duty to educate students to a level that society requires and demands.
Young Kiwi school boy Stephen Dudley and his parents trusted his school, Kelston Boys High, and its staff. Unfortunately that misplaced trust got Stephen murdered and a criminal police cover up instead of justice.
No, these teachers, principles and school boards are in truth the only ones suffering from an overblown sense of entitlement. They are not to be trusted, the sooner they realise that and the fact that the paying public are sick to death of their whining the better. Until they do then they should expect plenty more in the way of accountability and failing that litigation.
From where we stand it seems to us that todays children are much more aware of their civil and human rights than previous generations ever were. They know that, despite all the rhetoric spruiked by the likes of O’Shea and his ilk, that just talking to teachers is not the answer, that it can sometimes be a complete waste of time or worse invite opportunity for a cover up. If anything it’s that very knowledge that these teachers are whingeing about that is going some way to ensuring students own personal safety, whilst in the hands of some god awful New Zealand schools its halfwit paedophile teachers.
As for these arseholes whingeing about Facebook and social media, well as they say; sunlight is the best disinfectant. It was after all thanks to Facebook that people were able to find Stephen Dudley’s killers and Blessie Gotingco’s murderer. It was thanks to Facebook the the police were exposed attempting to cover up the Roast Buster rapes, where thirteen year old girls were take out of schools, without their parents knowledge or consent, in the middle of the day, plied with alcohol and then raped. The more every New Zealander knows the less likely it is they will be harmed, unfortunately the New Zealand police can’t be trusted either to do the job they paid to do;
Profile: Gerry Brownlee
Gerry Brownlee’s family heritage is deeply entrenched in Christchurch and his family trace their roots as far back as 1932.
Gerry comes from a long line of timber merchants and after leaving the prestigious St Bede’s College – where he failed University Entrance – he entered into the family business.
Much has been made in Parliament of Gerry’s education failures, with the Opposition suggesting he doesn’t have the smarts for the job.
But post-school, Gerry gained a teaching qualification, trained as a carpenter and eventually returned to his former school to teach design technology and technical drawing.
Gerry was remembered a tough but likeable teacher. His hard-boiled leadership style would later translate into politics.
Career in politics:
Gerry first officially entered the world of politics in 1993 when he stood for National in the Sydenham electorate. But it wasn’t the start he hoped for, losing to Alliance’s Jim Anderton.
Three years later he tried for the Ilam seat, this time winning by a comfortable margin and has been the incumbent their ever since.
Gerry made headlines in 1999 when he manhandled a protestor who broke into a private National meeting. Charges were brought against the MP and he was made to pay $8,500 in damages.
Four years later Gerry made a political assault on the National leadership, challenging deputy leader Nick Smith’s position while he was away on stress leave. Gerry won the challenge and ousted Mr Smith as deputy leader.
After National won the 2008 election he gained several Ministerial portfolios, including Economic Development, and Energy and Resources.
The most important role of his political career would come last year after the September earthquake in Christchurch, when Mr Key made Gerry the Earthquake Recovery Minister.
Helping to setup CERA
Becoming Earthquake Minister
Botching Conservation mining plan
Introducing the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Bill
What you might not know:
After graduating from high school, Gerry and his schoolmate, Richard Holden, formed a singing-comedy act called the Minetti Brothers.
The band, as detailed in a Listener feature, did the rounds of Canterbury pubs and made a point of targeting audience hecklers.
Gerry’s brief musical bout was once even raised in Parliament, during the second reading of the Copyright Amendment Bill in 2007.
Clayton Cosgrove suggested the copyright bill should be flexible so that Gerry could copy his band’s music onto an iPod.
“We do not want iron-clad laws, because Mr Brownlee — who, I am told, as a band member of the Minetti Brothers might have put out a CD — may want to copy that DVD on to his iPod. I am sure he has.”
“My absolutely strong position is that the old dungas, no matter what their connection, are going under the hammer,” said Gerry of historic buildings in Christchurch after the February quake.
Gaffes and blunders:
In a Radio New Zealand interview this year Gerry suggested that East Christchurch residents forced to leave due to the quake were deserters. He quickly corrected himself after realising his error.
In a sentence:
Gerry Brownlee is the Christchurch Old Boy who’s big and blunt, and not afraid to pack a punch (see manhandle), but ultimately his role as Earthquake Minister will make or break his career in New Zealand politics.