New bullying reporting required by schools

By 2 June 2007 39

The Canberra Times reports that Education Minister Andrew Barr has introduced mandatory reporting for schools of any bullying or assault.

Bullying strategies seem to be the flavour of the month, but is there really a rise in violence in our schools? Or are we just seeing more of it thanks to YouTube? And are those filming the violence contributing to the problem?

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39 Responses to
New bullying reporting required by schools
nyssa76 12:19 pm
02 Jun 07

How many times have we had this stuff on RA and only now the Govt is doing something. Don’t they read this site at all?

What concerns me about the recent spate of assault is that they were undertaken by students who are above the age of compulsory education.

A consequence of their violence should be 1) charged with assault and 2) thrown out of the school.

Especially if they are willing to either walk or drive to a high school to bash a student. Charge them with trespass and haul their butts to the local cop shop. If they are also over the age of 17, and they assault anyone under the age of 16, they should be charged as an adult.

As for the people who recorded it for youtube or their mates, they too should be given the arse.

However, it should go further and schools should be allowed to expel repeat violent offenders. It’s obvious they aren’t in school for an education, all they want to do is assault others.

johnboy 1:02 pm
02 Jun 07

Hiding the problem is only to the benefit of the bullies and incompetent administrators.

What used to be kept silent in the schoolyard is now being brought to the attention of the general public via youtube.

If those scenes are distasteful to the viewers then at least they can now be dealt with.

In the short term it might be part of the problem, but in the longer term it’s the birth of a transparent society which will be a good thing IMHO.

nyssa76 1:13 pm
02 Jun 07

JB, the sad thing is teachers weren’t (and still aren’t) allowed to talk about it in public for fear of losing their jobs.

For example, I know of one student (not mine or at my school), who has repeatedly assaulted other students and the most they have been given is a “card” and/or internally suspended.

That same student disrupts classes, walks out of their own classes and harasses others as they walk around the school – sticking their head into a classroom and threatening others.

They need to be expelled because the only thing that is truly achieved is that the victim/s leave the school instead as they can’t take it anymore. At the moment the rights of the bully (to an education they don’t give a rats about) far outweighs the rights of the victim. I want to see a hard crackdown, not something that’s just out there for political points.

I don’t agree with Youtube etc because it then victimised the victim again. The victim is made known to those who view it on mobiles etc and so it can follow them to their next school.

GnT 5:02 pm
02 Jun 07

I can see your point about the video footage being used as evidence, but the problem is the person with the footage gets status. Just like we saw with the footage at Woden interchange, by-standers are filming the fight rather than stepping in to stop it.

Kids need to learn that to stand by and watch someone being bullied makes you part of the problem. It’s all of our responsibilities to stop an assault if we are able, not video it to show our mates.

(BTW, I don’t know how to teach kids this.)

johnboy 5:20 pm
02 Jun 07

Some scrote gets some status by taking the video, a pretty small downside to some much bigger upsides.

Special G 6:28 pm
02 Jun 07

Easy. Give teachers pepper spray. Or introduce Police back into schools. Most of these kids need a good smack in the head. Its always the bully who is the first to go running to the aurthority figure when they get their arse handed to them.

soulman 5:07 am
03 Jun 07

Special G; “give teachers pepper spray:
Good idea, but only a small portion of fights seem to happen on school grounds. Kids are learning to go to the local shops, the bus interchange or even just across the road where teachers can’t see them.

As for filming and not stepping in. Well, let me ask you all something. How many of you would jump in and stop a fight you see… No one in their right mind would. If it was a bloke assaulting a women, then yes I would step in. But if two or more blokes want to beat each other up, than I am not going to step in. Ring the police, video it yes… from a distance. But I’m not going to risk getting stabbed or something. Please note though that while I would video it, it would be for the police, I wouldn’t put it on YouTube.

Bullies who continue harassing and/or violent behavior need firm and decisive action taken against the. To be removed from the mainstream school population and put into special programs.
But one also has to look at the parents. After all, some factor in the bully’s life has to influence the way they act. And often, it’s the parents. Sometimes, it is not the parents fault as such (ie. divorce, poverty, mental illness). On the other hand, too many times I hear of kid’s parents doing drugs and getting home drunk and abusive. Some parents even buy their teenagers alcohol and cigarettes. If someone’s child is a bully, is violent or is caught committing vandalism, they yes the offender needs to be punished. But if the parents have been negligent, then they too must be dealt with. Afterall, it’s all well and good to blame the kids for being on the streets of Tuggeranong at 3am fighting in the park, but where do the parents think they are? Do they even care?

nyssa76 9:35 am
03 Jun 07

How many of you would jump in and stop a fight you see…

Teachers are “expected” to do so. One teacher in Qld didn’t (with about 100 students) and he was fired. 1 teacher vs. 100 students – nice odds of achieving order.

I’d like to see it enforced that parents of bullies, who don’t give a rats either, are fined or something. They never come up to the school after the fight and “how dare you pick on my child” is their mantra.

The fact that their kid has given another a blood nose and black eye all because he/she can is irrelevant to them and the school has a hard time even getting in contact with them.

What annoys me even more is the fact that there are families who can have 2, 3 or 4 bullies and still nothing is done.

What will be done about them? Or will the Govt continue to allow this cycling to play out?

Nemo 11:48 am
03 Jun 07

I’d like to see schools work with parents more.

My son is in yr 7 and goes to a public school with approx 750 students. He has been involved in some minor fights at school lately. Several weeks ago I explicitly asked the school to inform me if anything further happens.

My son received an inschool suspension last week, yet the school still hasnt informed me – and is unlikely to do so. They have my number… I’m completely contactable.

How can parents reinforce the message kids are getting at school if they aren’t kept informed.

This is only going to get worse as schools get bigger.

Maelinar 12:56 pm
03 Jun 07

Teach your child to be the bigger bully.

There is no other alternatives to a parent, and it will give them valuable skills towards seeking the goals they want and going for them.

The downside is of course, they’ll be asssholes.

shauno 2:28 pm
03 Jun 07

Just bring back old fashion politically incorrect punishment. None of this red card bullshit. I use to get 2 hits with the leather strap just for talking in assembly in the morning that was a nice wake up call and usually resulted in a quiet assembly lol

Its not rocket science we don’t need to big inquiry’s its worked in the past lets just go back

Special G 5:38 pm
03 Jun 07

You can’t punish the bully, its not their fault they act the way they do. Put the blame on society. You can’t expect anyone, let alone a child, take responsibility for their actions.

Politically correct and bleeding hearts have gone too far. Teachers are between a rock and a hard place.

GnT 5:46 pm
03 Jun 07

I once was waiting for someone whan I saw a big verbal fight between a man and a woman. There was a lot of shouting and name-calling by the bloke and I was worried it was heading towards physical violence. I found myself thinking “Someone should step in”. Then I realised that someone was me.

I made sure I had my mobile phone in my pocket, then I went up to them and said loudly “Is everything all right here?” He turned and started walking towards me and said “f*** off!”. “Do I need to call the police?” I asked. He repeated himself, but by this stage the woman had run away, and so did I.

Yes, I was scared for my safety, especially after he approached me angrily. But I was also very proud of myself. I like to think I helped the situation, and would do it again. In fact, it gave me more confidence to be able to step in when needed.

nyssa76 7:31 pm
03 Jun 07

I’m lucky, I guess, that my child goes to a high school that I once worked at and still have friends who work there. They would be on the phone to me in a heartbeat should anything happen to my child.

As a Kindy, my daughter was bullied. I went to the school etc, and was told “the child comes from another cultural background” and “it’s difficult to speak to the parents”.

Needless to say that the next time my 5yo child came home with scratches and bruises, I was up at the school demanding immediate intervention or I would call the police.

The student’s family eventually came into the school to discuss it only after I stated I would call the police – what a joke. The fact that the classroom teacher had called 8 times (she kept excellent records and informed me every time she did call) made little impact.

My husband also taught my daughter how to box. He learnt it in the Navy and was tired of seeing her upset and injured. The next time my daughter was “attacked” she actually fought back. The bullying stopped and the school then tried to suspend my child. I say tried as I went in there and spoke to the Principal about his double standards and how I had tried every other way to stop the situation escalating. It also helped to have my cousin in there who was a journalist :)

Nemo, some schools do find the parents even harder to deal with than the child. The parents scream blue murder because their child has been suspended etc.

Sometimes they have even threatened teachers/principals/front office staff because of this.

I would call the Yr 7 Advisor first and if you get no satisfaction as to why your child was suspended, then try the Head of Welfare before moving onto the Deputy and/or Principal.

All parents should receive a letter outlining why their child was suspended.

soulman 10:42 pm
03 Jun 07

nyssa76: When I asked who would step in, I meant in the context of a stranger who witnesses men/teens fighting with each other. A teacher on the other hand has a legal duty of care and of course should intervene. But I can’t believe a teacher got fired for not breaking up 100 kids. That’s just wrong. Did he call the police or seek assistance?

Also, with regard to your later post. I agree with everything you say. I know of too many examples of bullies getting away with harassing people while victims are punished for fighting back, after inaction by the school to stop the harassment. And I also know of too many case of the parents of bullies, themselves bullies, threatening school staff. In once case at a primary school (whose name i will withhold), the parent of a bully who was finally suspended after 3 years of tormenting kids and staff, came to the school, abused the front office staff and principal before putting his foot through four glass windows and the front office window before storming off. As SpecialG said, “teachers are between a rock and a hard place”. And with parents acting like that, it’s no wonder.

GnT: What you did was both extremely good/brave and extremely stupid/risky. Personally, I am of the opinion that if I see two or more blokes fighting, then I’ll leave it alone. Call the police if necessary. But when a man is being abusive to a woman and their is actual or imminent risk of violence, then I would intervene. Call me old fashioned for coming to a woman’s defence. But I would rather be old fashioned than later hear a woman was seriously injured or raped and that I could have stopped it.
Some may call you a fool for putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation that really did not involve you. But what you did gave that woman time to get away. Had you not intervened, she could have become just one more assault, robbery or rape statistic. I commend you for your actions.

nyssa76 11:50 pm
03 Jun 07

soulman, I have intervened with teens who aren’t my students several times. On one occasion, two teens were ex-students of mine, which did make it easier.

I’ve also intervened (and yes I am female) in a drunken fight between two men. Not the smartest of things but the fight was stopped only after I intervened – no one wanted to see a woman get hit in the process. How stupid is that?

As for the teacher in QLD, it was all over the news – some had been filmed. He backed off and (if memory serves) he went for assistance. He lost his job because in doing so, he failed in his duty of care.

I must add though, that a pregnant member of staff should not be made to intervene in a fight, even with the duty of care issue. Female police officers aren’t allowed to do so and neither should female teachers (if they are pregnant).

Thumper 8:25 am
04 Jun 07

I agree with Nyssa 100% on these issues.

As a teacher these days your hands are tied. political correctness and the softly softly approach has given rise to students who have realised that the system can do nothing to them no matter waht they do.

And thus they play on it.

No real consequences for their actions. As simple as that.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 9:12 am
04 Jun 07

I’m not sure how we are sending the message that this type of behaviour is unacceptable when we go out of our way to help the offender, but leave the victim to effectively fend for themself.

In my experience (at a crap highschool where bullying and violence was common), the only real stimuli that bullies respond to is fear. As nasty as it is, this may be a key tool for modifying the behaviour.

Of course, lots of kids who cause problem have bad home lives, etc, but I still think the rights and needs of the victims need to come first.

VicePope 12:42 pm
04 Jun 07

I’m with the conservatives on this.

Open up one or more schools with bars (nice contrast with the old School Without Walls) and send the idiots there so they can wreck each other’s lives and leave the normal folk alone. About as many guards as teachers.

Provide some legal funding and support so that the bullied kids can get remedies (ie AVOs, injunctions, damages) direct from their attackers. Address the horrid mess that attaches vicarious liability to the schools and avoids any for the cretin parents who allow their brats to run wild.

Create a proper range of sanctions – five days suspension does nothing for someone who doesn’t want to be at school anyway. Provide professional and administrative support the poor fools who are silly enough to try to teach those who aspire to be standover merchants, dealers or road rage protagonists.

When a school I know had a problem years ago, I remeber suggesting an ancient Greek solution – the ostracon. Every teacher at the school would have a private vote and if some kid has created more grief than is reasonable and some minimum number vote for it, the kid is not to be re-enrolled. He or she will have to go elsewhere.

schmerica_ 1:27 pm
04 Jun 07

Who in their right mind will want to teach at a school where they send all the rat bag kids Vice?

I thought that in high schools, only teachers who had taken a certain course are able to break fights up. I guess it would be a little different in Primary Schools because they’re smaller and probably not as strong.

Whenever I see two guys fighting I can’t help but shudder. Sometimes I don’t understand why people just can’t walk away, then I realise that other factors probably had something to do with it. I just hope that natural selection comes into play and wipes their DNA off the planet.

I (stupidly) did the same thing as Nyssa. Stepped in because ‘who would hit a girl?’. Although it prevented a large portion of the fight, I did get hurt.

Snahons_scv6_berlina 2:10 pm
04 Jun 07

Tougher rules should be developed by the education dept to:
1. Give teachers more power.
2. Have stringent penalties applied to offenders including suspension/expelling
3. Inform Parents of their obligations.

If they fail to comply then at least the staff can say “thats the rules, don’t complain to me, complain to the department”…

VicePope 5:09 pm
04 Jun 07

Schmerica – some teachers would, because either they want to (teachers tend to be Good People, with careful capitals) or because they’d be paid more, given better holidays or something. Make some time in the zoo a condition for promotion, perhaps. Some people choose to be prison guards, or teachers/medical staff in prisons, after all. Last thing a smart education authority would do would be to send new teachers there unless it wanted rid of them. My guess is that there would not be all that many kids really needing this kind of intervention and therefore not all that many teachers needed.

VicePope 5:11 pm
04 Jun 07

ps – on breaking up other people’s fights. It helps if you call the cops before wading in. It helps if there’s more than one of you and you’re all …. ummm ….. large and chunky.

nyssa76 5:58 pm
04 Jun 07

Large and chunky :P~

schmerica, yes some teachers have PART training but that isn’t just for breaking up fights.

VicePope, a few years ago (and I have said this before) 1st year out teachers were placed at Dairy Flat – not the smartest move (or the last) by ACTDET.

Needless to say they left before 3 weeks were up and some quit altogether.

ghughes 6:23 pm
04 Jun 07

Meanwhile, in the more sensationalist Oz, they are advertising Private Schools FightClubs …,20867,21843687-5006785,00.html

I think they should
1. Have stringent penalties applied to offenders including sending them to less exclusive
2. Inform Parents that their contracting out of their obligations has not got them value for money

soulman 6:27 pm
04 Jun 07

nyssa76, can I ask, on those occasions where you intervened and they were not your current students, how far did you have to go to stop them?

Because intervening in a fight then brings up the question of personal liability. If you restrain someone, you could be liable for assault. Stupid yes, but lawyers would pounce on it.

And I agree with thumper on how wrong the softly softly approach is. Example. The full time counselor at a certain primary school once said to me at a function “there is no right and wrong. only degrees of behavior which are either positive of negative”.

Pardon the language, but WHAT THE F*CK???

In a world where “experts” in schools say there’s no right or wrong, no wonder kids are running a muck. I guess the upside is if I see that counselor again, I can trip her on the escalator. After all, it’s not wrong to seriously injure someone, it’s just a slightly negative degree of behaviour:)

nyssa76 8:18 pm
04 Jun 07

soulman, I was able to walk them away. The other kids wanted to continue and I got out my mobile and told them I was calling the police. It started over a mobile phone and ended without a blow being swung.

The students knew I was concerned for their safety. We spoke later of the incident and they thanked me for still caring as did their parents. Some people told me I was mad to intervene but after teaching these kids for a few years you tend to want to assist them even after they leave your classroom. I’m still a referee for ex-students and still take an interest in their studies – seeing as most of them go to College near my place of work.

Now off that part…I get the shits when repeat offenders are given a cake walk. It’s bullshit.

It makes your job a hell of a lot harder when the little turds know they can get away with anything.

el 8:38 pm
04 Jun 07

Sadly, it’s probably a good indication of what they’ll face later in life, Nyssa.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 9:05 pm
04 Jun 07

Just line ‘em up and I’ll administer the cane. Exposure to 15 years worth of internet porn has given me wrists like steel springs.

soulman 9:10 pm
04 Jun 07

that’s an image i don’t need

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