Page 1175 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022
MS BERRY: I understand Mr Hanson is going to be spending some time today measuring up the curtains of Ms Lee’s office while she is not here! But if you could give me the chance to respond without the continued interruptions—
Mr Hanson: I am not sure that interjections are a new thing, to be frank.
MADAM SPEAKER: No, and we all do wish it would stop, Mr Hanson!
MS BERRY: He will know that the Education Directorate has implemented these leading plans and policies around occupational violence within our schools. In fact, the Education Directorate is contacted by state and territory school directorates in other parts of Australia to understand the implementation of our programs here in the ACT. For the majority of students who attend our schools, they are safe, supportive learning environments for more than 50,000 in our public schools and 80,000 across all the schools in the ACT. Of course, non-government schools are not required to report incidents to the ACT government. I see that the focus of the opposition, as usual, is on muddying the waters of our public schools, which are great schools. They are doing everything they can under the most challenging of circumstances over the last couple of years to provide a safer learning environment, both face to face at school—
Mr Hanson: But it is not; that is the point.
MS BERRY: They are safe learning environments, and we will continue to work to ensure that that happens.
MS LAWDER: My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs. Minister, under recent questioning and during the no confidence motion in you, you repeatedly stated that serious assaults were “very rare” in Canberra schools. It has since been revealed that before the Calwell closure and before the Assembly motion there had been another alleged assault at a Canberra school. This incident occurred during school hours, in full view of other students and teachers. The footage reportedly shows three male students repeatedly punching and kicking a student on the ground, putting that person in hospital with serious injuries. Minister, were you aware of this incident when the Assembly last sat?
MS BERRY: I will have to take that question on notice and check the dates. As I have informed the Assembly, I am notified of these serious incidents soon after they occur, so I would have been informed about this incident. I am aware of the incident that I think Ms Lawder is referring to.
Violence and incidents of this sort, serious incidents in the ACT, are rare in our schools. However, these incidents occur in schools across the country. Here in the ACT we are doing everything that we can, implementing nation-leading work by changing the culture within our schools through the Positive Behaviour for Learning framework, which has been identified as the best way to change the culture in our