April 24: School Governance weekly news wrap
School in NSW bans energy drinks
According to the Daily Telegraph, Castle Hill High School has banned energy drinks after one of its students became ‘clearly distressed’ after consuming two cans of a popular drink. According to the Department of Education, the decision to ban such drinks lies with the Principal of each school. Castle Hill High School Principal Anne Brewer wrote in the school newsletter that energy drinks are ‘addictive and bad’ and that they are ‘the tobacco of the 21st century’.
Sexual abuses reported in the ACT
Allegations of sexual abuse by students against other students have been revealed in Freedom of Information requests, the Canberra Times reports. An Education and Training Spokesperson has said that since 2008, ‘all incidents of alleged non-accidental physical injury or sexual abuse of children and young people must be reported in accordance with the Children and Young People Act 2008’. These reports are part of the ‘Providing Safe Schools P-12′ policy of the ACT.
Catholic Church to appoint Child Safety Officers in WA
A policy to introduce Child Safety Officers in parishes across WA has been proposed by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe. Perth Now reports that the broader strategy includes ‘examining child protection policies and procedures of the Catholic Education Office’. These policies come in anticipation of the report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, which is likely to be some years away.
Sexting confronting schools and parents in WA
Indecent photos, sent between students in the practice of ‘sexting’, are ending up in the hands of outside parties, the West Australian reports. Schools are being faced to deal with such issues, with the rise of photo sharing apps such as Kik Messenger and Snapchat. A cyber safety expert who spent the last 3 years visiting schools has urged parents to become more educated on these issues.
Teachers attacked by pupils in social media
The Daily Mail reports that students, some of which are in primary school, have taken to Twitter, Facebook and RateMyTeacher and other forms of social media to attack teachers. The abuse includes being called ‘psychos’ and ‘paedos’, and other insulting remarks about appearance, race and sexuality. A teachers’ union spokesperson said that ‘’schools need policies which prevent abuse and identify sanctions which will be taken against parents and pupils who abuse staff in this way’.
More vaccinations mandated for students in Ontario
Students in primary and secondary schools in Ontario will be required to prove that they have been vaccinated against meningococcal and whooping cough, according to the Mississauga News. This new mandate follows requirements already in place for students to have vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and in some cases chicken pox. The Ontario government has been successful in nearly eradicating these diseases in the province.
Over £40 million in payouts to injured teachers awarded in the UK
In the Daily Mail, there are reports that payouts to teachers over workplace injury, wrongful dismissal and other claims are on the rise. Over £40 million in payouts is thought to have been awarded over four years. Injury claim awards paid to teachers include damages for stepping into potholes, slipping in wet corridors and tripping on uneven paving slabs.
Teachers under CCTV surveillance in the classroom
The practice of constant CCTV monitoring in UK classrooms is coming under scrutiny, as the Guardian reports that recordings are being monitored by school management and head teachers to evaluate staff performance. CCTV in UK classrooms is ostensibly installed for staff and student safety. Teachers have raised concerns about the stress and pressure of such constant surveillance.