Kids disappear while study shows benefit of staying
Studies have shown why it is important that young people feel a connection to a school community, but at the same time Australian Government policies are keeping some out.
Research has shown that a child’s sense of engagement with their school cuts the rate of risky behaviour.
The findings come at the same time as the forced removal of two re-settled refugees from their school communities.
It is believed the two were taken from their Adelaide high schools and placed in ‘mainstream detention’ in the Northern Territory. This prompted around a dozen other refugee students to be reported missing, allegedly running away on fears that they two would be relocated to detention interstate.
The practice of pulling kids from schools and moving them to places known to be educationally-lacking goes against the findings of a study recently published in the Educational Psychology Review.
The research shows that students who felt engaged with a school community which also delivered a means for students to influence policy (such as student representation) developed more resilient, responsible and caring behaviours.
A good school reduces the chance of turning into the kind of person Immigration officials want to keep out.
National Children’s Commissioner from the Australian Human Rights Commission, Megan Mitchell, says education in a positive and functional school environment really is the key.
“The [International Convention on the Rights of the Child] establishes that children and young people have the same human rights as adults, but are also entitled to special protection due to their unique vulnerabilities,” the Commissioner said at an education summit in Adelaide this week.
“The Convention places a special emphasis on the right of all children to an education, not only access to education, but to education that encourages the development of their potential and talents, their cultural identity, their sense of responsibility and respect and their respect for human rights.
“The Convention is quite clear that school disciplinary measures should respect children’s dignity and reflect the broader values of the Convention.”
Meanwhile - under the policies of a Government some say is moving further from its human rights obligations every day - principals from public high schools pledged to take on more asylum seeker students.
In a meeting with church leaders and refugee advocates, the principals from seven South Australian high schools said the fears of community detainees were enhanced by uncertainty of what would happen when they turned 18.
Pro-refugee advocate and Welcome to Australia director Brad Chilcott says Immigration officials have been calling asylum-seeker students into government offices for age-determination interviews. These occur during the school term around the students’18th birthday.
“Students are interpreting (the interviews) as the first stage for them to be going back into detention,” Mr Chilcott told News Corp reporters.
“These kids saw their friends rounded up and thrown into a detention centre on the other side of the country — it’s no wonder they were terrified,” Greens Senator Hanson-Young said on the issue this week.