Di­rec­tor gen­eral acts on school vi­o­lence

Joondalup Weekender - - Front Page - Justin Bian­chini

THE direc­tive to sus­pend mis­be­hav­ing stu­dents has been is­sued to a But­ler pub­lic school fol­low­ing par­ent con­cern over stu­dent and staff safety.

Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment di­rec­tor gen­eral Sharyn O’Neill sent a let­ter on Mon­day to John But­ler Pri­mary Col­lege mak­ing it clear the school had had enough time to re­spond to a Novem­ber re­view show­ing lead­er­ship and be­hav­iour prob­lems.

“The di­rec­tor gen­eral has made it per­fectly clear that the school has had enough time,” depart­ment act­ing deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral Stephen Bax­ter told ABC Ra­dio. “She’ll have a let­ter go out to­day to the school, in­di­cat­ing that the pol­icy will change.

“That there will be a stronger ap­proach to con­se­quences. And that sus­pen­sions will be one of those con­se­quences.

“That said, we will con­tinue to pro­vide sup­port to the school.”

A “wor­ried par­ent” con­tacted Com­mu­nity News af­ter the mis­be­haviour of some Year 5-6 chil­dren forced the evac­u­a­tion of a class and in­juries to some stu­dents and staff.

The par­ent said sev­eral fam­i­lies had taken their chil­dren out of the school and oth­ers were con­sid­er­ing do­ing the same af­ter claim­ing the prin­ci­pal was not prop­erly act­ing on their con­cerns about vi­o­lence.

“In my child’s class (Year 5-6) the stu­dents and staff are ex­posed to phys­i­cal vi­o­lence, bul­ly­ing, threats to life and racial slurs from other stu­dents,” the par­ent wrote. “Ei­ther get­ting hurt them­selves or wit­ness­ing their peers and teach­ers get as­saulted.

“Three chil­dren in this class are con­stantly caus­ing th­ese dis­rup­tions, with one child alone caus­ing five to six in­ci­dents this year.

“Dur­ing a re­cent in­ci­dent, chairs were thrown, there was punch­ing, kick­ing, chok­ing and ver­bal abuse.

“Ten-year-old chil­dren were hid­den un­der desks, moved, placed into lock­down and en­dured a fright­en­ing 2.5 hour-long on­slaught.

“The dra­matic in­ci­dent ended with four stu­dents and three staff mem­bers be­ing in­jured and the chil­dren then ex­pected to pose for class pho­tos.”

The par­ent said plac­ing the mis­be­hav­ing stu­dents back in the class – af­ter be­ing taken to a unit called the hub un­til they showed they knew how to act prop­erly – was dan­ger­ous.

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