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School based protection orders on the rise

By johnboy - 22 November 2008 57

The Canberra Times brings word of a 38% increase in school based protection orders issued by the courts over last year.

The total number is 54.

    “The orders can apply to children as young as eight, require a court appearance and force the alleged bully to keep a distance of between 3m and 100m from their accuser, making them notoriously difficult for a school to enforce. Breaching an order is an offence that can result in a child acquiring a criminal record.”

Apparently Sheila Foliaki-Singh is the woman to see if you’re looking for some judicial intervention in the schoolyard.

You really can get a lawyer for everything these days.

What’s Your opinion?

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57 Responses to
School based protection orders on the rise
Granny 11:34 am 23 Nov 08

That’s great, BerraBoy68! That’s totally the sort of issue I’m talking about.

I do have to wonder what approaches have been tried to solve this problem worldwide, and how successful the various ones have been. Also whether the most successful ones would translate into the Australian playground.

BerraBoy68 8:37 am 23 Nov 08

Very true Granny. I’m also looking at this problem from the other side noting my connection to the Marist abuse issue. Students need to feel safe from both other students and teachers/staff.

Of interest, there is a disconnect in the OH&S legislation that needs to be addressed in the ACT. In a school if a staff member is injured by either a student or another staff member they are covered under current OH&S legislation. The students, however, are not. The trick then, is how do you then discipline students who hurt other students and teachers? Personally, depending on the scale of the abuse, I’d suspend/expel them and let the parents deal with it.

As part of the Marist issue we’ll be writing to Simon Corbell to seek to have the OH&S issue addressed. BTW: we’ll also be asking Corbell to have the Statute of Limitations extended in cases such as Marist and Dara noting the scale of the abuses committed at these schools, but that another story….

Granny 11:30 pm 22 Nov 08

Firstly, schools are the equivalent of the work place for kids. That is where they do their work, and work is what they are expected to do. School work and home work. Work.

Many of them would rather be in the paid work force, perhaps, rather than the waking nightmare that is their lives. However that is not an option.

Secondly, the whole thing is getting completely out of hand. Just google ‘bullied to death’ ….

There must simply be zero tolerance for bullying. If we don’t protect our children, who will?

And Nyssa76 is correct. At Lake Ginninderra College while my daughter was there, teachers were pushed aside and doors broken down so a gang could bash a student.

It has to stop.

ant 9:50 pm 22 Nov 08

The problem is that too many parents won’t let public schools enforce rules, and discipline. If their bullying offspring gets punished, these failed parents make a fuss. The bully is basically told that it’s OK to do what they do, the school gets a kick in the pants, and they wonder why so many parents are sending their kids to private schools, where (usually) discipline does prevail.

Weary Helper 9:19 pm 22 Nov 08

Well johnboy not one for commenting on forums or blowing the legal profession’s trumpet, I feel strongly enough to post and say :- there have always been lawyers for almost everything and who make a lot of money out of people’s miseries(!!) – however not many who care enough about our young (and the hard and troubled times in which they are being forced to grow up)and one who helps the community, by devoting a sizeable chunk of their time when called upon by : victims, families and support organisations – and paid nothing or at measly Legal Aid rates, to try and ensure that when YOUR child, nephew, neice or young relative goes to school or the playground he/she is not likely to be bashed; stabbed; pushed down and almost raped by a group whilst being photographed; (a girl) bashed by a group of girls and various sexual acts performed on them; challenged to fight so others can use their mobile phone cameras and post “the fight” on facebook, youtube,or other social networks and infra-red or bluetooth, email or MMS it to each other;( I could go on and on…) AND THAT SCHOOLING , SPORTS, OR JUST BEING A CHILD – REMAINS A POSITIVE ENRICHING EXPERIENCE IN THEIR DEVELOPMENT AND ON THEIR WAY TO ADULTHOOD; and that we as a community do not have to pick up the pieces, a few years down the track as the victim turns up in our criminal justice system – a broken or tormented adult as a result of the schoolyard bully/ies actions (and this is not just an excuse nor just a crutch). There are too many bullies (and as our children are taught in school -‘bully bystanders’ or bullying groupies) – in our schools, sports, on sporting boards, – AND – for adults even in workplaces and in social circles – not to mention those that make and change our laws and rules – the public service and administrative bodies! So do not deride those WHO ARE ABLE TO AND DO TRY TO HELP you and others. Perhaps the ethos of the peace love… 60s/70s era is what needs to be taught (haha!!!! and pigs will fly). – SORRY COULD HAVE MADE THIS MANY SHORT SENTENCES BUT IT JUST LOSES IT’S EFFECT – just as your comment was couched to generate comments and a reaction.

cranky 7:34 pm 22 Nov 08

Perhaps schools (headmaster, teachers, acting in concert) should be allowed to chastise, expel, deport the bullying little darlings without having to answer to precious parents.

Demonstrating that a community standard has been set, and contrary conduct is not acceptable, establishing a benchmark. Students whose conduct offends will have no recourse, and parents of these thugs will be brought to the realisation that society has found them wanting.

Could have very positive ramifications, spilling over into family discipline.

nyssa76 7:28 pm 22 Nov 08

affordable, it takes a hell of a lot to ‘remove’ a student from the school and if they are in area, it’s almost a non-event.

Piratemonkey, last week I saw 150-200 students (lead by 10-15 students not from my school) try to enter the school and trample teachers who were protecting a student who was about to be bashed. I, myself was almost trampled trying to protect the student and their sibling.

They walked through the school in an attempt to locate the student (which they didn’t) and several police had to attend.

Not all teachers ‘look the other way’ and not all would put their bodies in the way of a mob of teenagers to protect one child.

Piratemonkey 7:17 pm 22 Nov 08

You know teachers are not doing their jobs or more likely their hands are tied and can’t do their jobs when court orders are needed to solve issues like “matt keeps punching me mum and the teachers wont stop him” :’-(

IMHO bulling kids are ripe for being assh*les as adults so we should start with showing them whos boss young. Restraing orders FTW.

affordable 7:00 pm 22 Nov 08

Political correctness
is there an allocation of how many times a person may offend before action will be taken and i assume the max penalty if found guilty is a new school.
appears to be the same result after they leave school and enter the real world

GottaLoveCanberra 6:48 pm 22 Nov 08

Don’t for one second think that society is becoming more violent. We’ve always been violent it’s just that the ‘rules’ that are supposed to hold us back are being whittled away or going unenforced.

nyssa76 6:03 pm 22 Nov 08

DJ, I deal with bullying on a daily basis and my classroom is known as a ‘safe haven’ for many a bullied student because I won’t tolerate bullying.

The ‘policy’ where I work is not worth the paper it is print on as the bullies get a slap on the wrist whilst the victim/s are forced to either 1) stay or 2) move schools because the system is set up to placate the bullies and not ‘make a scene’ or draw attention to the failings of the school/s.

Any teacher who fails in their duty of care to protect students should be sacked immediately. Any ‘supervisor’ (those who can suspend etc) who fails to do their job should also be sacked. However, many a ‘suspension’ can now be overturned on appeal (by the parents) IF any inclination of a suspension is stated or implied BEFORE all the ‘evidence’ is gathered i.e. student statements. If a child is seen bullying another student, it has to go through a paperchain BEFORE they can be even considered for suspension.

As for the ‘a school is a workplace for the teachers, not the children’ believe me when I tell you that in several ACT schools, the bullying that takes place is staff related moreso than the bullying that is student related.

It’s all about who has the ‘power’.

DJ 5:43 pm 22 Nov 08

Nyssa76 you are not helping with ideas to make the system work. How do you, as a teacher, improve things? You must have found yourself in a position where you have seen first hand the system fail. Bring back the strap or cane?

Since you are in the system can you explain why a teacher who is obviously too lazy or negligent to prepare paperwork to HELP the victim and offending child can still remain employed?

A school is a workplace for the teachers, not the children – I think the teachers and administrators need to lift their collective games.

nyssa76 2:05 pm 22 Nov 08

Granny, as someone who knows what goes on in a school yard, let me applaud you. You hit the nail on the head.

School bullying policies aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

In saying that, protection orders can reduce the number of ‘requirements’ of a normal order due to the size of the school etc – which simply isn’t good enough.

When one student has 3-4 protection orders against him/her, then that student should be removed from the school by ACTDET to protect the victims (and future victims).

housebound 12:46 pm 22 Nov 08

It’s a disgrace alright, for the reasons Granny said plus some.

It starts at the top. We have a bullying culture – just look at the Education Minister’s behaviour in 2006 and since. Our culture is increasingly violent too. You could blame whatever you like – parenting, media, teen pop-culture – but it won’t change the fact that it is there and not being addressed beyond some media hand-wringing and official denials of the isseu even existing.

On top of that, some teachers have found it easier to avoid reporting violence because the paperwork requirements are now too onerous, and DET won’t back them up anyway.

Students can threaten to kill others, and the school says parents of the victims are overreacting because it was ‘just words’. No wonder these things end up in court.

Granny 11:52 am 22 Nov 08

I think the existing procedures in the schools do nothing to provide protection to children from their peers.

Children are required by law to attend school, but are the only group that really don’t seem to enjoy the full protection of the law regarding their workplace.

Anyone else would only have to allege harrassment in a workplace not actual assault. ‘Everybody knows’ that it’s acceptable for kids to be subject to the ‘law of the jungle’ because ‘school is like that’, whilst grown men and women had unions to fight for their conditions to be improved so that they could be safe, happy and productive in the work environment.

Without anyone to advocate for them, kids have been left behind, if not in the dark ages then at least in the very worst of the industrial revolution.

The whole thing’s a disgrace.

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