The schoolyard has become the new battle ground in combating young lives maturing into violence as schoolboys as young as five are being identified as "at risk" of criminality or extremism.
One school in Sydney's inner west has reportedly flagged 10 young males who are on the wrong path.
The alarms come as the NSW Department of Education announced it had deployed five specialist support teams targeting "anti-socials and extremist behaviour" in our schools, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Child psychologists, researchers and educators have reported a concerning spike in the number of "lost boys" in primary schools – children who are disengaged from their school work and learning and display a potential to mature into criminals or extremists.
At one affluent inner west primary school the government noted 10 boys had been identified as "at risk" and had since been placed in a special program.
Dr Rose Cantali, a school councillor and clinical psychologist, said boys' disengagement from their surroundings was growing to serious levels, with at risk teens becoming involved in violence and shootings or radicalisation.
Dr Cantali, who is also president of the NSW Parents' Council, recalled one Muslim family she encountered in the past had three children end up on the radicalisation track.
The mother sought help from a councillor because of her children's behaviour.
"Fast-forward, three of her boys ended up becoming terrorists — one in our jails at the current time and the other two jailed in other countries.
"I remember wondering, 'how this could have happened? What did we miss?'"
Dr Wayne Warburton, a psychologist at Macquarie University who focuses on aggression, said many teens often felt "adrift and anxious and sometimes sad or suicidal".
The globally recognised psychologist said changed behaviour "must start with children who are young and it must be scaffolded in schools and the curriculum".
The NSW Education Department said there were five specialist teams working in the state's institutions, led by a member of the school's executive.
Each squad includes a senior psychological adviser, a technology expert and a community liaison officer.
A department spokesperson told the newspaper the "robust systems in place to identify students who are vulnerable and may be influenced to engage in high-risk behaviour including substance abuse, crime, self-harm or anti-social and extremist behaviour".
Schools were also working closely with police to ensure all incidents and concerns over anti-social and extremist behaviour or tendencies were reported.
Newsbreak - June 29