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The Zero Violence, Zero Exclusion Dilemma

Schools have seen an upsurge in the level of dysregulation and violence they encounter daily. The express objective of bower(schools) is to create zero violence/zero exclusion schools that are fully inclusive of all forms of human diversity and are fully participatory. The question is, “how?”  

Dysregulation and violence in the school and classroom context refers to a raft of behaviours, emotions, and cognitions that disrupt that student’s full participation in the learning/education process; and disrupt other students’ full participation in that learning/education process. A student’s emotional and behavioural dysregulation appears to be an attempt on the part of that student to collapse the inequality/hierarchy between teacher and student. Violence successfully collapses that inequality/hierarchy.  

Hierarchy is one expression of inequality, in this case the inequality deemed to be appropriate in an institutional educational structure, a school. The unequal relationship between teacher and student is formalised inside the institutional structure of the school and education. This unequal relationship is legitimate and legitimised in two directions – by the state, that requires all children to enter into an education process, a state that ordinarily requires a child to have a relationship with a school and a teacher; and it is legitimised by the family of the child who are required by the state to subject their child to the unequal relationship with a school and a teacher.  

Dysregulation is an attempt to alter that unequal relationship, to reduce the inequality, to disappear that inequality. Teachers need to be trained in being able to handle the dysregulation of children not necessarily through strategies or techniques, but in the management of inequality.  

All schools, all teachers, the state, and the family, must be clear about the legitimacy of the unequal relationship between school, teacher, and student; and the way this is legitimised by the state and the family. This speaks directly to the compulsory nature of education, required by the state, which is a right of every child – whether they want it or not.  

The presence of trauma or conditions which are neurobiologically challenging for children does make the education of that child more complex and require more support. The presence of trauma or diagnoses of disability increases the inequality between the student and the teacher and the student and their peers. Dysregulation, which often presents in such conditions, requires more support for the student to participate successfully in the learning and education process. 

Regardless of inequality, diagnoses, trauma, and challenges in students’ lives, when dysregulation morphs into violence it becomes a matter of safety. Just as violence is not to be indulged in the community, within and between adults, so violence in schools cannot be indulged.  

Managing hierarchy and inequality in a relationship means knowing how to distribute and rearrange responsibility and authority.  

To learn more about these concepts, sign up for bower(schools) “Zero Violence” workshop here.

To learn more about bower(schools) visit bower(schools) | Bower Place 

To see how bower(schools) can support you and your school community book a free Schools Support Assessment meeting at bower(schools) | Bower Place. 

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