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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 April 2019) . . Page.. 1225 ..


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Petitions—ministerial response

The following response to petitions has been lodged:

Violence in schools—petitions 5-19 and 8-19

By Ms Berry, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, dated 2 April 2019, in response to petitions lodged by Ms Lee on 21 March 2019 concerning violence in schools.

The response read as follows:

RESPONSE TO PETITION NOS 5-19 AND 8-19 - VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS

Summary

The ACT Government does not accept or condone violence anywhere in society and is committed to early support and prevention to reduce the impacts of violence in the ACT community, including in schools. Every student and school worker is entitled to be safe and the government’s commitment to safe and supportive schools is unambiguous. There is no place for bullying or violence in ACT government schools.

Education is a universal need in a child’s life and establishes their future trajectory. Government schools respond to this universal need by aspiring to provide equitable access to education that responds to the individual circumstances of each student. Government schools are open to all children and young people.

Equally, because all are welcome in government schools there will always be need for deliberate effort to make school communities safe, supportive and inclusive. Every student and school worker is entitled to feel safe and experience safety at school. This expectation of safety is paramount and extends to all members of school communities including teachers, learning support assistants, school leaders, support staff members and volunteers.

Government schools are the schools of choice in the ACT, with nearly 49,000 students in 88 schools supported by around 7,000 staff. On most days, at most times, in most places government schools are generally safe for students and staff.

However, across Australia, all schools in all sectors experience incidents of student violence or bullying. A little over one quarter (27 per cent) of year 4 to


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