Peter Doulis, a teacher in the state of Victoria, Australia, has recently been awarded $770,000 in damages following a major psychological breakdown caused by teaching in a Victorian state school. The Victorian Supreme Court awarded the damages against the Victorian Government because of the government’s negligence in not removing Doulis from teaching in dysfunctional classes. The students were described as ‘feral’, and were reported to have been “virtually crawling up the wall”. Doulis has been suffering a “chronic severe major depressive condition”.
The Victorian President of the Australian Education Union warned that this is a re-ocurring problem because government’s “aren’t prepared to support our schools in the important work that they do in educating our young people.”
Education Unions have a vested interest in schools and schooling, so their solution to the problem is to throw more government money at the issue. This will not solve the problem, it will only expand the institution that is the root cause.
So, here is evidence of another situation where attending a school is hazardous to health. The behaviour of the students that is identified as contributive to Doulis’s breakdown is the kind of behaviour that would be expected in a mental institution. And why should this be surprising? Both mental institutions and schools are total institutions, as defined by Goffman (1961).
The Secular, Free and Compulsory Schooling experiment has failed dismally, and needs to be scrapped. It will not happen over night, and who knows how many more teachers, principals and students will be afflicted with breakdowns before the lesson is learned. Government-funded schools are not places of education, they are prisons and places that inflict enormous pain on a very large number of people subjected to them.
Goffman, E. (1961). Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates. New York: Doubleday Anchor.