The number of children between the ages of 4 and 8 disrupting classes and making life difficult for teachers in Switzerland is rising, according to a survey run by the newspaper SonntagsZeitung and reported in 20 Minutes.
These difficult children were identified as the main source of stress for school staff.
Younger children seem to be more of a problem than teenagers. Violent, aggressive and confrontational behaviour was more likely in 4 year olds than those aged 13 or 14, according to the survey.
Children raising hell at school were more likely to come from broken homes, families where parents are absent, or from migrant families with difficult backgrounds. Excessive screen time also appears to associated with poor behaviour, and more and more parents seem to be relying on schools to sort out poor behaviour.
In addition, school management doesn’t always support teachers. One who has been in the profession for 20 years said that school managers can be reluctant to support teachers who appropriately discipline children for fear parents will take the school to court.
Another teacher in French-speaking Switzerland reckons the number of problem children has increased, four, maybe five-fold over the last 20 years.
Cantonal governments are trying to help. Vaud has set aside CHF 12 millions to support parents, educators and educational social workers, and Geneva has hired and extra 28 educational staff who will start next school year.