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Bullying hits the courts – Andrew Barr wishes to be seen to be doing something

By johnboy - 5 May 2007 24

The Canberra Times has an interesting story on schoolyard bullying reaching the courts via a massive spike in the numbers of Personal Protection Orders being sought by parents concerned for their children’s safety.

Andrew Barr is seeking a briefing and wants to impose top down measures to reduce the number of orders being applied for. Which is not quite the same thing as seeking a reduction in bullying.

Good to see that the anti-social behaviour management strategies are working so well in place of corporal punishment.

What’s Your opinion?

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24 Responses to
Bullying hits the courts – Andrew Barr wishes to be seen to be doing something
jenna 12:37 pm 07 May 07

When is personal responsibility going to be a feature of this society again. It seems that blame for social problems is always being palmed off to someone else. In the case of the bullying, parents are pushing it onto teachers or the justice system. The attitude of ” not my little johnny” is contributing to the problem

nyssa76 11:23 pm 06 May 07

I should add that top down measures won’t work. The hierarchical system that is currently in place at ACTDET proves that there is already little communication (in terms of conversation) and rather orders are dictated from above.

If Mr. Barr wants to know why it is rising he needs to talk to 1) parents, 2) teachers and 3) students. He doesn’t need to speak to staff within ACTDET as some in high positions have never taught in a school or haven’t for several years.

nyssa76 11:19 pm 06 May 07

Sadly simbo, it isn’t going to happen.

Already this year, at my school (Govt), there are 3 new students from my old school (Non Govt). There is a mix of reasons why but two are bully related.

My suggestion to Mr. Barr is that once a child has 4 red cards by Term 1 of a school year (due to bullying and/or anti-social behaviour – and yes I have seen a child on repeated red cards all Term 1) they should be sent to a special school or their parents be made to home school their offspring.

simbo 8:04 pm 06 May 07

Nyssa – exactly. That’s why I’m arguing that the opposite should have a chance to apply – government is funding private schooling anyway, so why not attach a few conditions to level the playing field a little?

nyssa76 7:37 pm 06 May 07

simbo, kids that are “expelled” from Non Govt schools walk into their local Govt school and then we have to keep them. They don’t have to keep them and they still get Govt funding and spout “we’re better” etc.

seepi, there are a few “special” schools for behavioural issues – the Cottage (Belco) and Galilee (Tuggers) – however they have small numbers and are considered “Non” Govt schools by ACTDET.

el, yes you are right about Dairy Flat. Only problem was that staff were being threatened with knives, their children’s lives were threatened etc by the students and nothing was done. In one year 2 teachers left within the first few days of the school term because of this.

boomacat, once a child is 14 yo 9 months, they don’t have to be in a Govt school. Funnily enough, those students who do cause problems stay after that age and are a further disruption to the learning of others.

Repeat offenders should be set up in home schooling.
If they want to fail they can do it without disrupting the learning of others.

But the problem is – the rights of the disruptive/violent student outweigh the rights of the other 29 kids in the class.

el 6:01 pm 06 May 07

“It’s” should read “Isn’t” above. Sorry.

el 5:18 pm 06 May 07

It’s that what the ‘Dairy Flat’ school was there for?

seepi 4:26 pm 06 May 07

There should be some special schools for the really vile kids.
Unfortunately ACT govt can’t afford to run enough normal schools, let alone special extras.

boomacat 12:37 pm 06 May 07

It is a real shame that it takes litigation to make the community to sit up and take bullying seriously.

Sure, the easy answer is to demonise dysfunctional children and hold them responsible for bullying.

But as adults we have an obligation to children, including amongst other things to help them become healthy, responsible, functioning members of society.

Simply abandoning them and exiling them from education when they’re difficult fails to satisfy that obligation.

Not only will it lead to further bullying down the track (of the workplace kind that you complain of Nyssa), but it will also swell the ranks of tomorrow’s problematic citizens (drug abuse, crime etc).

But of course all we need do then is lock them all up and throw away the key and teach those lunatic hippy magistrates/judges a lesson about draconianism and then the problem will be solved once and for all.

I’ve great sympathy for teachers who are faced with the problem of misbehaving children, as well as the students that have to put up with them (I’m sure we all experienced bullying at school, really awful) but I think we can find a better solution than just telling the kids to piss off.

simbo 12:11 pm 06 May 07

Aha, thanks for the info.

Another option, it seems to me, is to send troublesome students from the public system into the private system – if the private system wants government funding, they have to be prepared to accept a certain number of “public students” automatically.

Then we can see how well the private system’s much-vaunted “better outcomes” actually work when they can’t just palm their failures back onto the public system…

nyssa76 12:07 pm 06 May 07

simbo in the ACT there are many parents who home school their children. They are routinely checked against the same curriculum outcomes as students who are in school and they can participate in ACTAP testing.

I use to work in that area and registering is simple and cost-free. Home visits are done by a qualified teacher.

There is always the Education Act 2004 which can and does enforce this.

Also, those same kids are the ones who disrupt lessons so that the other 29 kids in the room don’t learn. It’s the lesser of two evils.

Teachers nowdays have semester evaluations. We also have the dreaded Professional Pathways which track our achievements etc throughout the school year. All Pathways are sent to ACTDET and are a mandatory requirement in ACT Govt schools. Pathways encompasses Territory, school and professional outcomes. Teachers have to be signed off on them at the end of the year and demonstrate what they have done to achieve the goals. Those that don’t are place on Pathways to Performance – a last resort.

Enough “insider” info for you?

simbo 11:55 am 06 May 07

But surely, Nyssa, since most of the problem with troublesome students is that their parents don’t give a stuff, surely making them homeschool their kids would mean that, in practical effect, the kids wouldn’t be getting any education whatsoever.

How do you imagine such a system being enforced? Requiring one parent to stay home and teach the kid, with their performance regularly assessed? Given that, as far as most of us can see, real-life employed teachers don’t have their performance assessed with reference to how their kids are actually performing, it seems a bit rich to expect people being compelled to teach having to come up with defined results…

nyssa76 11:40 am 06 May 07

Having worked in small and large high schools I can tell you that in my experience, it was pretty even. However, in the smaller schools it was more noticeable.

I’ve never believed that the anti-social behaviour management worked. Of the students I’ve known who have had Protection Orders on them; it was a last resort by the victim’s parents.

These kids laughed when suspended (internally or externally) or when they were put on behaviour contracts (one of many in their high school lives). They see it as a joke as do some of their parents.

My response would be to make the parents (who didn’t give a stuff) home school their little darlings. That way they are still getting an education and the parents are actually seeing first hand what their children are like in an educational setting.

Plus, it wouldn’t be the victim having to change schools – which does happen a lot.

I’d also like to see the numbers on workplace bullying in schools. I notice that Mr. Barr glossed over that one – which happens more than people think – perhaps it is the fact they have been “ordered” not to speak about it to anyone.

seepi 9:54 am 06 May 07

It would be interesting to know if significantly more of these are emanating from the larger schools.

auntiesocial 2:15 am 06 May 07

Arm the bullies……..reduced survival rates will reduce order application numbers.

Works overseas.

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