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New identity stories: An alternative to suspension and exclusion from school

Donald McMenamin

School pastoral leaders have halved the use of suspension and exclusion from New Zealand schools in the last decade. This article offers community re-authoring of young people’s identity stories as a further support for reducing suspensions and exclusions. It demonstrates how developing new stories of “who I am and what is important to me” can lead to a marked reduction in troubling behaviours. The article highlights the importance of invited peers, teachers, family, and community members in exploring and maintaining alternative identity claims and changed behaviours.

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