Page 1179 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022
had not been assaulted at some point. During their career, they had knives brandished at them, had a student bring a gun to school, received death threats and had their car damaged four times.” Minister, how many principals have reported an assault during their career at an ACT school?
MS BERRY: I find disturbing the focus that the opposition has on our public schools. It is trying as much as it can to talk them down when they are great schools. For over 50,000 students who attend them, predominantly they are safe. They are safe and supportive environments for our school communities, our school teachers and school staff. So I start with responding to that question by making that statement. Very clearly—
Mr Hanson: On a point of order. I would ask the minister to be relevant because the question related not just to government but to non-government schools. It talked about ACT government and non-government schools. The question was specifically about an ACT school, not about public or non-government. I would ask the minister to be directly relevant and cover both school systems in her answer.
MADAM SPEAKER: She has a minute-plus to cover anything else, but she is on track at the moment.
MS BERRY: Thank you. I have already responded to the second part of the question with regard to ACT schools, where school principals in non-government schools are not required to report incidences to the ACT government. So I would not have any detail other than if there were people who were individually reporting to me on that, and I have not heard that. However, what we have seen in ACT government schools since we have implemented our occupational violence plans is that we have an increase in reporting and a really good reporting culture in our schools of incidences when they occur so that they can be addressed. That is what we need to see across our school communities.
This has been complicated by COVID and by the impacts of an international health pandemic. That is the fact of the matter. It has been incredibly difficult for school communities to connect with students and their families over this period remotely, but they have done an excellent job at delivering a great education, whether that is remotely or on the school campus. Implementing our occupational violence plans and management processes has also been complicated during this time.
MR PARTON: Minister, how many teachers have reported an assault during their career at an ACT school?
MS BERRY: That is just a ridiculous question. How long is a piece of string, really? What I have continued to say and what I will continue to say is that our public schools—
Opposition members interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: Members! The minister is on the floor answering the question.