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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (28 November) . . Page.. 4965 ..


why does your directorate still not have a clear and adequate process to deal with multiple incidents of violence in our schools?

MS BERRY: As I understand it, those questions were asked and responded to in estimates. The Education Directorate is working very closely with our school communities to instil a cultural change within our schools that accepts that our teachers have a sometimes very challenging but very rewarding job and sometimes, as a result of that—of the challenges that some students come to school with, and the behaviour of some parents and others in the community as well—it means that they can be exposed to occupational violence. The changes that are required in schools are to ensure that teachers understand that they have the right, the same right as any other worker, to go home safely from school. It is not a judgement on their ability to teach and include students who have challenges in their lives that lead to behaviour in schools that can lead to violence against teachers. It is saying to teachers that we need them to report, and that all school communities need to encourage all school staff to report, any injuries or any incidents that occur in schools so that the government—

Ms Lee: Point of order, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Resume your seat, please, minister.

Ms Lee: Madam Speaker, my question was specifically about why her directorate still does not have a clear and adequate procedure. It was not about encouraging teachers to report. I acknowledged that in my question; I would prefer the minister to actually answer the question I asked.

MADAM SPEAKER: I think that she made reference to the education department working on it, but you do have 20-odd seconds left, minister.

MS BERRY: Thank you, Madam Speaker. What we will be seeing for a little while as we change the culture in our schools, not just here in the ACT but across the country, is an increase in the number of reports, which will tell us that we are making a difference within our school communities. (Time expired.)

MS LEE: Minister, I again ask: why does your directorate still not have a clear and adequate procedure to deal with multiple incidences of violence, and what training has been provided to directorate staff to raise awareness about the new policy?

MS BERRY: I am aware that Ms Lee referred to a number of these questions during the estimates hearings, about training that was provided, and will continue to be provided, as we roll through a significant cultural change that needs to occur in our schools. That training will continue.

Mr Coe interjecting

MS BERRY: Well, it is a cultural change. It is not just limited to here in the ACT. The ACT government led the nation in ensuring that we have a plan in place and a policy in place to address what is a very complex issue.


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