Page 717 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 March 2005

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fight was stabbed in the leg. That child is now receiving counselling under the victim support service.

Since then, I have been constantly bombarded with stories by people who have come to me. I have here a few excerpts from some of the emails I have received in the last little while. One said:

I have seen a student suspended for wielding a knife at another student and within two weeks was part of the student populous.

Another said:

A student stalked a colleague but nothing was done about it until the AEU was called in.

Yet another, a most alarming one, said:

A student with severe mental health issues attempted suicide [several] times in one school term. He even assaulted other students … At times, this student would self-harm, usually in front of his peers. While at the school in question, I pulled the child in from a 3rd storey window as he was attempting to jump out of it. This was in full view of several classes of students.

Approximately two years ago, someone else told me, a school was forced to hire a security guard to protect staff and students and the department would not cover the cost. Why did it have to hire a security guard? It was because a student who had been suspended for violence came persistently onto the playground, on one occasion assaulting a teacher after being asked to leave the school grounds.

Another teacher told me that a student who was deemed to be violent had been readmitted to the school where this teacher was teaching and his behaviour had led to several students being harmed and teachers threatened. This teacher told me that it did not make any sense to allow this child to re-enter the school in which his victims were still part of the student body and that several students had left the school upon confirmation that this student would be returning to school. This teacher concluded the email to me by saying, “My primary concern is for the students who were assaulted by this person and the fact that my work environment is no longer safe.”

We have to ask: what has been the government’s response to these instances? The parents of the child who was stabbed in the leg were told that the perpetrator was going through a rough patch. Mr Speaker, you do not have to have an advanced degree in psychology to be able to tell that a child who takes a screwdriver to school is going through a rough patch. The question that these parents have is: what is the school and what is the school body doing for that kid who is going through a rough patch? The answer is: not very much.

There seems to be an environment of retribution in the department of education; others might call it bullying. Some of the parents who took their stories to WIN Television have encountered a very interesting departmental response. After they went to WIN Television, the chairman of a school board rang one of the parents and, basically,

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