School justice system.

Behaviour management policy is based on the criminal justice model.

Do something wrong and get caught… receive a punishment.

When I push for fundamental change in how schools manage difficult behaviour, the response I often get is that this is how it would be in the real world.

Unfortunately, one thing schools are really quite bad at is preparing kids for the real world. And it’s a problem that’s getting worse.

A bigger issue here though, is that this whole way of thinking is based on a system that is totally broken, ineffective, and damaging.

46% of adult prisoners were proven to have re-offended within a year of release in the most recent statistics. The figure is 60% for people sentenced to less than a year.

The way things are done in schools is based on a model that is absolutely failing in the outside world.

And we can understand a little more about why it doesn’t work by looking specifically at addiction. One of the leading voices in this area is Dr Gabor Mate.

What unites the people who develop addictions is an underlying emotional distress that is temporarily relieved by the addictive substance. The first question to ask when treating a drug addict, he says, ‘is not why the addiction, but why the pain.’

The criminal justice system is interested in whether you broke the law, and how you should be sufficiently punished. But who offers help? When is it given? Who deals with the pain?

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