April 10: School Governance weekly news wrap

An overview of some of the key school governance-related news from Australia and around the world.

Australia

Tas Education Dept hides child abuse allegations from parents

The ABC reported that the Tasmanian Department of Education, failed to inform parents about allegations of a school volunteer that tried to procure a child for sex. The volunteer, who was found not guilty of offering a girl $10 to have sex with him, in an unrelated case served six weeks in jail this year for indecently assaulting a schoolgirl.

NSW Education Minister challenges right of private schools to expel students 

The NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli said independent schools were shirking their social responsibility for the sake of their reputations, in response to the expulsion of several year 8 students from one school over an alleged incident involving cannabis. ”Every school has a responsibility to address the behaviour of their students whether it is a $30,000 school or a government school,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Vic independent schools have 60% more funds to spend than state schools

The Age has reported that Independent schools in Victoria, have 60 per cent more funds on average to spend on their students than public schools. The paper said based on an “analysis of the latest school funding data”, the average income per student in independent schools had risen 21% since 2009. This compared to 10% in public schools and 20% in Catholic schools. The Age said Victorian private schools had an average income per student of $17,832 in 2012, compared with $11,258 for the Catholic sector and $11,216 for public schools.

International

Teacher fired over befriending students on Facebook

A teacher in the US state of New Hampshire has been sacked after refusing to comply to an order from school administrators for her to defriend the 250 students from the school she had on her Facebook account. “They gave me an ultimatum, either take them all off or you are terminated,” the teacher told CBS Boston. “And I decided that I would not comply and so I was terminated. And it’s caused a firestorm across the entire area.”

Indian schools allege education official demanded kickbacks

The Times of India has reported that six schools in the city of Nagpur have alleged an “extension officer” demanded kickbacks in return for granting them their no-objection certificates (or reregistrations). A secretary of one of the school’s said the official was “holding up the NOCs of some schools just because they did not pay up. Once we pay up, it will never end. If our complaint leads to harassment then we’ll just close the school down.”

Hot chilis led to evacuation of school

Six habanero chilis scattered in the wood chips of a playground area, led to a handful of students being hospitalised and a school evacuated in Colorado. “Coming in contact with the pepper oil would cause many of the symptoms that students experienced. It isn’t known at this time how or when the peppers got on the playground,” said a statement by school officials.

20,000 sign Facebook page supporting suspended California high school teacher 

A Facebook page supporting a high school teacher suspended for wrestling a student who allegedly was carrying marijuana has attracted more than 21,000 likes. The teacher was placed on “leave” after the teacher wrestled the student to the floor after suspecting he was carrying drugs, according to the LA Times.

Boy suspended in US for making gun motions with pencil

A 13-year-old student in New Jersey has been suspended for allegedly making gun motions with a pencil, according to media reports. The father of the student, who was sent home for two days, said he was “absolutely livid” and said the school’s actions were a “gross misconduct at its finest.” But a school official said: “We never know what’s percolating in the minds of children. And when they demonstrate behaviours that raise red flags, we must do our duty.”

UK school under attack over non-uniform day policy

The Daily Mail has reported that parents have criticised a school in England that only allows students who have hit certain academic targets to participate in non-uniform day. “My son isn’t academic but he is good at other things. I understand that those who have hit their target deserve a reward but not by isolating those who haven’t,” said one parent. Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said the idea was “the same as putting a dunce’s hat on a child”.”I think it’s extremely discriminatory. It’s depressing for children who have to wear school uniform,” he said.

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