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Seeking advice on High Schools in ACT with good anti-bullying support

By Daisy42 15 December 2011 50

Our daughter is in yr 7 this year.  She has Asperger’s Syndrome.  She has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  She is extremely anxious.  She is very depressed.  She is very intellegent.  She is very mature in her thinking about bullying.  She helps protect others when they are getting bullied.  She is a really amazing young girl.  She can see the harm bullying can do and has experienced it first hand for years, just about every single day of her school life.

After struggling for the past year at her current high school, who assured us their anti-bullying policy was fantastic, her introduction to high school began with getting bullied from the first 10 minutes of starting on her first day, with the school taking 5 months to finally do something about that one particular girl.  We have now taken her out of this school for the remainder of the year as she just can’t take anymore. 

She is constantly being bullied, both physically and verbally, during class, in the playground, everywhere.  The school has not done what is needed to protect her.  She is being spat on, pushed into glass windows, having her pencil case shoved down boys pants & thrown back at her, constantly getting picked on because her skin is too pale.. the list goes on.. she may be slightly (or sometimes more obviously) different from the “normal” kids, for want of a better word.. but in no way does she deserve to have this happen to her.   She is NEVER mean to anyone, she just struggles to fit in socially in some situations.

Our problem now is trying to find her another high school in Canberra, as she can no longer return to her current high school.  They are not doing enough, they have had constant contact from us asking them to help, it is usually met with “we can talk to the students again, but we can’t do much more than that” and nothing changes, there has been a whole year now of too much hatred and learnt behaviour from too many students towards her to even think about letting her return and try to fix it anymore.  Enough is enough.  We know the teachers are struggling to manage awful behaviour in classrooms, we understand the very hard job they have, but at some point, our daughter needs help and understanding too and is not getting it, even when it constantly is happening in front of the teachers.

We would appreciate any advice from other people on what may be a good high school for her.  We can’t afford private schools.  She will not be returning to her current school.  We are willing to travel anywhere around Canberra if it means she can be safe and happy.  We live in Belconnen.  Any advice on what schools do actually work with following their anti-bullying policies would be a great start, or ones to avoid also.  We are just so desperate for her to be safe and happy and get the education she used to want, until it all got too much for her.. now she just doesn’t even want to learn or go to school anymore.

We have contacted the Dept of Education, and they have suggested we just try contact all different schools and talk to them, but they can all say they don’t tollerate bullying.  We would love to hear advice from people who actually know what goes on in the schools, parents, students, teachers etc..

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.. thank you for your time in reading this.

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50 Responses to
Seeking advice on High Schools in ACT with good anti-bullying support
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childcare_worker 12:25 am 07 May 12

Bullying is everywhere at workplaces and schools and so on.
Name and shaming schools is not the answer.
I work in a private and non private schools and I do see students bully each other which I am very shocked to see

Kerryhemsley 11:20 am 19 Dec 11

“it bugs me that in the 80?s the ACT had the best system in the country and we are now close to the wors ( I mwent to Nth Ainslie, Lyneham and Dickson)t; and
it bugs me that super schools are stupid.”

Assuming they are typos, what evidence do you have that ACT has close to the worst education system now?

matt31221 7:25 pm 16 Dec 11

lizw said :

matt31221 said :

Hey Daisy24, I am sorry to hear that your daughter is having such a hard time. I can sympathize as I suffer from OCD and apparently was diagnosed with Aspergers as a child – although be warned that Aspergers is diagnosed way to easily these days and your daughter probably only suffers from OCD.

Actually AS girls are very difficult to diagnose. That’s why the ratio of girls diagnosed to boys diagnosed is so low. And that’s why it so hard for them to receive the help they need. Unless you are a psychologist who has worked on this girl’s case, I suggest you keep your opinions on what her diagnosis actually is to yourself. There is nothing more hurtful than to have someone who knows nothing of what’s going on to say there’s no issue. I’ve been there many times with people telling me that there is nothing wrong with my diagnosed daughter.

I do apologise in advance if the following response comes off as negative or offensive because I am not intending it to be, it is just a hard subject to talk about.

I don’t know why you would be ‘hurt’ when someone tells you there is nothing wrong with your daughter, I would be rejoicing! Perhaps you are thinking of yourself instead of your daughters best interest?

I have been though a lot, I have seen a lot of children that have had these supposed diagnosis, and I have experienced elements of the aforementioned disorder for myself. I know quite a few people who are supposed to have Aspergers yet they don’t even exhibit the main symptoms of the disorder! The condition is over diagnosed and I do not need a degree to tell you that (although it is my own personal opinion).

If a relative knows your child very well, and tells you genuinely that there is nothing wrong with them, I’d be at least considering what they said. Not all psychologists/psychiatrists give an accurate diagnosis, and sometimes a diagnosis can be actually harmful to a child as my multiple diagnosies were for me. Sometimes if the diagnosis is correct it can be beneficial in helping the patient deal with there condition but sometimes it is not at all. If you are constantly telling your child there is something wrong with them they are going to believe you – and it does more harm than good. I hope the professional that ‘diagnosed’ your daughter knew what they were doing because there are about 3 psychiatrists in Canberra that should not have medical licences (that I know and have been to). Unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to having a mental illness and it is best to simply keep a secret if you can. Some people that are uneducated on the subject of mental illness may treat you differently if they know, sometimes worse.

And in my defence if you read my post again I was not telling the OP that there was nothing wrong with her daughter – I said that OCD can manifest as having slight Aspergers symptoms when younger (to add, even GAD and hypochondria), and that I believed Aspergers was over diagnosed.

Also I was simply stating that I believe people should be normalized and mainstreamed as much as possible instead of being shoe boxed and institutionalized. I once again speak from experience.

Sorry if you are offended by my posts.


Thanks heaps! I am so glad that you have overcome your disorder like you have, I know what you have been through experiencing it myself and you must be commended! I would love to meet you one day as I have actually never met someone that suffers the same disorder since primary school. I am sure more people suffer from it than we know because it is such a private disorder and mine is mostly hidden from people (in person) and they are surprised when I confess it to them.

thanks again..

Mordd 7:14 pm 16 Dec 11

Stay away from Trinity ChristiaN School in Wanniassa, probably the worst anti bullying policies I have ever seen, even more than a decade since leaving there. If you are condsidering non-government schools give TCS a very wide berth.

shadow boxer 6:36 pm 16 Dec 11

Kerryhemsley said :

[Gold Creek is feral and has huge issues, ask them how many AVO’s have been taken out before enrolling your kids

I can’t believe you waited until #17 post to bag the public school system. Your job in PR for christian schools in Gungahlin is on shaky ground.

Mate, I do not work in or have any affiliation with the education system.

I post a bit about education in the ACT because;

it bugs me that I need to spend $20,000 a year to give my kids a quality education;
it bugs me that dedicated professionals like Gerrybuilt need to plead for help on here because they are not given the tools and resources to do their job
it bugs me that people like the OP find themselves in this awful situation;
it bugs me that in the 80’s the ACT had the best system in the country and we are now close to the wors ( I mwent to Nth Ainslie, Lyneham and Dickson)t; and
it bugs me that super schools are stupid.

I know something about Gold creek and was providing some balance to a post that while well intentioned may not have told the full story.

What is your motivation for posting insults without anything constructive to offer ?

cranky 5:41 pm 16 Dec 11

Perhaps Qbngeek @ #20 has hit the spot.

Make the parents WELL aware, and responsible, for their wretched offsprings actions.

Kan 5:21 pm 16 Dec 11

Every school has its strengths and weaknesses, whether its public or private. Daisy42 has asked for our advice and instead a number of posts have entereed a slanging match. My advice is to look at each school individually. For instance, I know for a fact Daramalan an AS student who has done extremely well at that school. The same can be said for Lyneham High which caters to the needs of gifted special students. I know this because my friends send their kids to these schools and praise them for their ongoing support.

Bad Seed 4:53 pm 16 Dec 11

HenryBG said :

You should try the Catholic Education system. They actually teach children to be nice to each other and will not allow bullying. My daughter isn’t the most social girl in the world, but she’s just finished a wonderful year 7 in a Catholic school where they’ve helped her mature with confidence, and even achieve some very good results in some areas.
I don’t know what she thinks of the religious nonsense they feed her, but as long as she doesn’t take it too seriously it’s got to be better than the moral void that exists in our public schools.


The second half of your comment is really quite offensive – so you are prepared to use the Catholic system to your advantage for all the great things you say they have offered your child yet the one reason the Catholic system exists to differentiate it from the public system, you trivialise as religious nonsense, when it actually the foundation stone of what you compliment? Why is your daughter not being bullied? Why is she achieving good results – if you look at the schools mission statement, you will see it is because the school bases everything they do on being like Christ.

This is is not way saying that public schools are not moral or ethical or anything like that but that Catholic schools use a different reason for it than public schools do.

YOou don’t have to be religious or a believer to go to a Catholic school (heck most people aren’t these days) but to insult the basis of what it is that is foundational to why your daughter is achieving is a bit much!

(I am no longer a teacher in a Catholic school but have been for many years)

Kerryhemsley 4:15 pm 16 Dec 11

[Gold Creek is feral and has huge issues, ask them how many AVO’s have been taken out before enrolling your kids

I can’t believe you waited until #17 post to bag the public school system. Your job in PR for christian schools in Gungahlin is on shaky ground.

Padoof 3:06 pm 16 Dec 11

shadow boxer said :

padoof said No school in the ACT is untouched by protection orders, NO SCHOOL

Rubbish, do you have a source for this claim

ok, well “NO SCHOOL” is figurative, not literal – the point is to not fall in to the trap of thinking that it can’t happen at your child’s school, public, private, primary or high school.

This is an old report, but gives you a fair indication of school numbers affected:

The points for Daisy to consider are to not be swayed by someone else’s bad experience, to form her own opinion based on the school’s response to her enrolment enquiry and her daughter’s feeling of the school ‘vibe’.

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