According to this article, 85% of Australian teachers send naughty students to the ‘Naughty Corner’, give them Timeout or tell them to leave the classroom.

This caused something of a storm on Channel 9’s the Today Show Facebook site after the Dr Anna Sullivan appeared on the show.

The reason? Dr Sullivan suggested that sending kids out of class may not be in their best interest and might in fact exacerbate the situation, and in the worst case may actually be in breach of their rights to dignity and an education.

Cue outrage. “What does she know?” “I blame the parents!” “Let’s see her in front of 30 kids” came the predictable comments.

But the fact is she’s right. Cue the comments at the end of this piece 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a little timeout here and there, and I acknowledge that more often than not the behaviour of a few impacts on the rights of the majority, and we can’t allow that to happen.

But the problem is, exclusion – whether informal such as sending kids out of class, or formal such as suspension or expulsion – becomes the primary strategy for many teachers in these situations.

I can assure you there are some kids who spend more time out of class than in it.

Is it their fault? Probably, but let’s not forget one important point here.

They’re kids. And the teachers are professionals.

This would be akin to doctors or lawyers sending tricky patients or clients out of their offices because they didn’t have the resources to deal with them.

I’m not bashing teachers.

The fact is many teachers and schools do not have the resources to deal with difficult students in an appropriate fashion, whether it’s lack of specific training, specialist staff or school counsellors, many schools are just doing the best they can.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Dr Sullivan has several good points and it will be interesting to see what comes out of the Behaviour in Australian Schools Summit next week.

Author: Dan Haesler is a teacher, consultant and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars. His website is: and he tweets at @danhaesler