Almost 400 state Prep students suspended for bad behaviour
VIOLENT and out-of-control behaviour among the state's youngest students is rising, with suspensions handed out to Prep pupils doubling in just two years.
Figures released for the first time show nearly 400 suspensions were handed out last year to four, five and six-year-old state school Prep students.
Kicking and spitting at staff, punching and eye-gouging, throwing chairs and rubbish bins and "other aggressive acts" were among the "repeated" bad behaviours that ended in suspensions.
Teachers say the main reason for the behaviour is children being unprepared for school.
Social welfare experts warn the behaviour would be inextricably linked to a student's home life and suspensions didn't deal with this, setting up a child to be marginalised instead.
But principals and Education Queensland say the suspensions are only used as a last resort.
Figures obtained by The Courier-Mail show short-term Prep suspensions of five days or less jumped from 184 in 2008 to 371 in 2010. Long suspensions — six to 20 days — went from fewer than five in 2008 to eight in 2010.
Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said bad Prep behaviour was definitely increasing and while no one wanted to suspend young students, sometimes it was necessary.
Mr Ryan said often the children in question "aren't prepared for school".