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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2021) . . Page.. 1941 ..


Education—Margaret Hendry School

MR HANSON: My question is to the minister for education. A recent article in the Canberra Times on 29 May reported that a meeting of 40 parents of students at Margaret Hendry School had discussed the level of bullying at the school. Some parents were reported to be removing their children from the school in response. The article also reported regular suspensions of children from the school. Minister, what are the issues with bullying at the Margaret Hendry School?

MS BERRY: I thank Mr Hanson for the question, although I must say I am disappointed at the Canberra Liberals’ continuous targeting of one public school in the ACT. Every single public school is affected by this conversation of dragging out some of the issues that are being experienced—

Mr Hanson: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, I asked a pretty straightforward question about what is the bullying at Margaret Hendry School. The minister is now debating the issue and, in accordance with standing order 118(b), I would ask you to ask her to answer the question directly.

MADAM SPEAKER: I think your point of order came quite early in the answer, but I will ask the minister to go to the question.

Mr Hanson: Well, she is debating it; so it does not matter how soon I ask.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: This school is a diverse and vibrant school community, with over 48 language groups. There are also a variety and a diverse range of students who attend that school. I am not about to go into the detail of the incidents in a school. I have been on the record to suggest that I would not be going into that kind of detail in this place. I think it is deeply unfair to do that and to target one individual school, because when you target one individual public school in the ACT, you target every single one.

I have absolute confidence in the teachers in ACT public schools that they will deliver—as professionals, with their four-year degrees and, in some cases, masters degrees—and that they will act on a continuous range of improvement measures, which Margaret Hendry is absolutely committed to doing and is doing, just like every other public school in the ACT.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, are you saying that the parents of children at Margaret Hendry School are wrong when they express concerns about the level of student suspensions at the school?


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