Page 631 - Week 02 - Thursday, 17 February 2005

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It goes on at some length. Further comments were:

I am aware of at least one year 7 girl who was taken out of school permanently. She is an extremely bright girl but is now under medical treatment for severe depression and suicidal desires.

I am a single parent and cannot afford to send my child to a private school yet now I cannot afford not to.

The parent has said that she had eventually decided to take her child out of school. This is what she says is the result of that:

Since I told my daughter that she was leaving this school she has been a different child. The sullen depressed teen has gone to be replaced with the bubbly, happy girl I knew before. She is no longer singing and writing songs about death. My daughter is safe now.

This is endemic across a range of schools. At one school I know of four separate unrelated and major incidents of bullying which have not been satisfactorily addressed by teachers and the school, including a stabbing where a child in year 3 took a screwdriver to school and held it to the throat of another year 3 student. When a year 5 student intervened and broke up this potentially life-threatening situation he was stabbed in the leg. His younger sister was later threatened that both she and her older brother would be done in by the child. This child was put on a one-day internal suspension. This is probably the most alarming comment. This is from a separate, different primary school:

Last Wednesday [this was in term 4 last year] my daughter was attacked. My daughter was walking with a friend at lunch …

They inadvertently walked through a group of boys who harassed them and chased them. Both girls ran to the toilets thinking that they would be safe but one of the boys went into the toilets and bashed both of them. I will read a description of the injuries because I think it is worth knowing. This girl was taken to see a doctor that night. The parents did not find out until 5.00 pm that something had happened at 11.00 am. She has a swollen and badly bruised vagina where the boy kicked her. She was also kicked in the stomach and legs and has bruises all over those. They have now been photographed and referred to a solicitor.

This is not the sanguine picture that was painted by officials of the Department of Education and Training in the annual report hearings last week. The minister knows about all of these cases I have read out and many others. Nothing seems to be done. It is time the minister did something about it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 5.50 pm until Tuesday, 8 March 2005, at 10.30 am.

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