Children who are suspended from school or yelled at by teachers are having their rights abused, according to researchers.
Children are being left humiliated and disengaged by school punishment that violates their rights, according to researchers.
The University of South Australia will next week host a summit tackling student behaviour in the context of human rights, featuring a lecture by National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell.
Ms Mitchell was appointed as the inaugural commissioner by the Gillard government last year. Her task is the protection of children under the United Nations convention on the rights of the child.
Summit organiser Anna Sullivan says some forms of school punishment, such as suspensions, are at odds with children’s right to education, while teachers who yell at students or draw attention to their misbehaviour could be violating their right to dignity.
“We know that a lot of children feel alienated from school and that starts from early on,” Dr Sullivan told AAP.
“Children tell us that they might get yelled at, or their names are put up on the board. They feel humiliated, they can feel put down. Those sorts of things are not appropriate.”
The Queensland government this year introduced tough new laws allowing principals to put students in detention on Saturdays, while also extending suspension limits from five days to 20 days.
Research shows children who are excluded from school as a punishment often end up in the juvenile justice system, Dr Sullivan said.
“We know it’s not an effective strategy for changing their behaviour,” she said.
“I’m not in any way saying there should not be discipline in schools but schools should be safe, they should be welcoming and all kids should be able to learn there.”
Ms Mitchell said excluding children from school was likely to be the least effective way of managing behaviour and could have negative effects on students in later life.
Schools that included students in developing behavioural standards were the most successful at managing classrooms, the commissioner said.
“You can tell the moment you walk in the gate at those schools,” Ms Mitchell told AAP.
“The kids are much more engaged in how the school operates and what goes on in the school, and it’s those schools that have the least problems with behaviour.”