Source: (1997) Keynote address given at Contemporary Issues in Education Law: Strategies for Best Practice, Sydney, Australia, 7-9 July. Downloaded 2 November 2005.
As a judge in the Auckland District Court in New Zealand, Fred McElrea addresses the topic of school conflict on the basis of having seen many young people in court who are not succeeding in school. Truancy and recurring trouble at school correlate significantly with at-risk and offending behavior among juveniles, often into adulthood. With this in mind, and with a focus on New Zealand, McElrea first surveys rates and long term effects of truancy, suspensions, and expulsions. He then looks at potential ways to deal with these problems through a discussion of the value of community structures, restorative justice ideas and processes, and school justice and criminal justice. This leads to his proposal for a modified form of a family group conference which he terms a school community conference.