No more violence in schools
Every student and teacher deserves to be safe in ACT schools. Recent news reports and personal communications from Ginninderra residents, however, have made it clear that kids in multiple schools have not been as safe as we should expect. For this reason, today I spoke in the Assembly in support of a motion sponsored by my colleague Elizabeth Lee, calling on the ACT Government to establish an independent inquiry into violence in our schools.
With permission, I shared the experiences of one Belconnen family whose young child has been bullied and injured at an ACT school since starting kindergarten. According to the parents, he has been punched, pinned, dragged, strangled and more. After several years of this, he became terrified of attending school and started experiencing frequent abdominal pains identified by medical authorities as a consequence of stress.
The parents have kept records of their child’s injuries, but when they requested all incident reports from the ACT Government, they discovered that only two events over the course of four years had been reported.
This is not a failure in any way of teachers or other frontline workers. The family whose story I shared today told me that they think teachers are fantastic, hardworking and skilled. In a case like this, the teachers are likewise victims of the current government’s failure to ensure that our schools are safe.
I was disheartened when the Labor and Greens MLAs all voted against this motion.