The benefit of negative consequences

I enjoy putting up a humorous meme or satirical piece on Monday mornings, a sort of transition from the weekend of ignorant bliss into the maelstrom of work and family responsibilities.

Two days ago, however, I read the following:

The Drug Foundation wants to remove schools’ powers to expel any student younger than the school leaving age of 16. end quote.

Wow.

Yes, it appears that the Drug Foundation desires to ?remove the power to expel students under 16 and instead create incentives for schools to keep all students engaged in learning.?

So effectively, a child who commits violence or sexual assault, or multiple thefts, or stands over weaker children for lunch money, or sits in class whispering nothing but threats to a victim, will have more power than the safety of the other children, the parents of the school, indeed the school itself.

An excellent example of how to deconstruct personal responsibility…

Firstly, such a disastrous ban would damage the young person.

By removing the possibility of negative consequences to negative actions, and only seeking to add positive consequences to alternate actions, the young person has only one wing with which to fly in their future decision-making. Let a young person feel a bit of pain if it means they are more likely to make a better decision next time.

Secondly, the other children will suffer.

I have seen what happens when a violent student is put in with other students. There is a palpable tension and other students start acting out, mostly to do with now needing to act in a certain way so that they are not targeted. Forcing schools to keep high-level offenders, means to place other students at direct risk, whether by being stolen from, stalked, stood over or sold to. It is not inconceivable for a predator/prey culture to develop in the classroom and wider school.

Thirdly, the school suffers.

This is conjecture, because I have never seen a school unable to at least protect other students by way of expulsion.

In an environment where the concept of personal consequence is removed by the state, dark characteristics develop, and that leads to other students needing to resort close to survival thinking, which inhibits higher functioning, assimilation of knowledge and subsequently results in lower grades. Not only that but teachers, (already part-time counsellors let alone administrators), will require upskilling in de-escalation procedures and restraint training, crowd control, and everything attached to Youth Justice facilities such as LOS, situational awareness, code-words, team tactics and the like.

And we suffer.

Because forcing our schools to snatch away the benefit of negative consequences, forcing other children to become victims and/or part-time youth workers, harming school pride and focus for the future, means these young, angry people will grow into young, angry adults, angry holders of power, angry legislators, angry police, angry teachers and angry university students.

Perhaps we are closer to such a world already.

Some of the best lessons in my life were cemented due to suffering the consequences of my actions. I know you also have stories we laugh about now, that we cried about then.

Our children deserve to be taught and treated in a way that builds them up, to be resilient, ready…and respectful…and to be safe.

The drug foundation, already infamous for supporting teaching students about how to smoke meth discreetly, should perhaps take note of Harry Browne’s observation that:

?Only people who bear the consequences of their own acts will care about those consequences and try to learn from their mistakes.?

 

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