Dispelling the Myth of ‘The Problem Child’
When we think about ‘problems’ in the classroom, we often associate the thought with ‘problem children,’ i.e. children who cannot be taught, who are disruptive, even violent, and generally difficult. These children are ‘the other’; they are not our children, they are not the children of our friends; they are simply problem children.
But the very idea of a problem child is flawed in itself. We have to ask ourselves why any of us behave the way we do. Why do some children opt to misbehave and make trouble rather than engage with school. Dismissing these young people as fundamentally flawed, possessing bad behavioural habits – helps no one, and represents an easy method of explaining away a complex social issue.
Statistics tell us State secondary schools in Victoria expelled 1720 students in 2015, while in Queensland 1,525 students were excluded either on a permanent or temporary basis in the same time period. In New South Wales the figures are a little lower – with 1,262 exclusions in 2015 – but these numbers are on the rise.
Second Chances with the Young Adolescent Program
At Chain Reaction we take the well-being of the future generation very seriously. This means creating robust and reliable structures within which all children – not simply a select few – can flourish. We believe in caring for and nurturing young people from a full range of backgrounds and who run the full gamut of outlooks on education and on the future. If we are to be a cohesive society, if the system fails one child, it fails them all.
This is where the Young Adolescent Program comes in. This program is designed to give disadvantaged kids aged between 10 and 12 years the support and resources they need to progress and to move forward towards positive academic and social accomplishments as young adults and beyond.
The Bigger Picture
Many of our young people have extremely difficult home lives, resulting in the beginnings of serious behavioural issues, causing them to become at risk of falling through the cracks of everyday life. We want to ensure that each and every young person has the best possible start in life. We believe that ALL young adolescents deserve to shine and flourish, and to contribute to society.
Such thinking provides disadvantaged kids with another option and a second chance at an individual level, it also helps to galvanise us as a society. By safeguarding the future of youth we are creating a strong, cohesive and caring society for tomorrow.
We need to ensure that a suspension or expulsion is not the end of the road for a student. Instead, it can provide an opportunity to assist them to get back on track. Freezing individuals out of society altogether, particularly at such a young age, achieves only one thing; turning ‘problem children’ into ‘problem adults’.
Margaret Bell, AM – Founder and CEO Chain Reaction Foundation.
Younger Adolescents Program
We are assisting participants to become active in school life, to see a point in going to school and even enabling them to become school leaders now and community leaders in the future. With your help, Chain Reaction Foundation can raise the $30,000 required to continue providing this program over 4 terms during the school year for disadvantaged teenagers.