Damian Light: Who wins? A disruptive student creating an unhappy, unfocused teacher or the students who want to learn?

I agree that education is a fundamental human right and the basis of giving people the best start in life. And education is more than just exercise books and exams. It’s life skills and interpersonal skills, critical to being party of a well-functioning society. To deny access to education because you’re disruptive is unhelpful and not beneficial for the school, the child or the community.

And it’s also worth noting that not all children with Asperger’s are disruptive – I’m worried that this debate is at risk of stereotyping those with disabilities as too hard to deal with, when the issue is actually disruptions in schools in general.

It’s been a while since I was at school, but there were plenty of disruptive children. The causes of the behaviour will vary from child to child and I’m not going to make any sweeping statements about the solution that will solve them all. We need to properly equip and support teachers and schools to help disruptive children. It’ll mean engaging with parents and other support networks as required, but expelling someone because it’s too hard isn’t helping anyone. I remember a number of children at school who seemed beyond help but the right approach from teachers turned their education around.

– Damian Light, United Future

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