October 5: School Governance weekly school wrap

AUSTRALIA

NSW scheme shields children from attackers

News.com.au reported about how a NSW pilot program is being praised by researchers for shielding child victims from their attackers as they give evidence in abuse cases.  The $28 million program proposes to protect traumatised young victims and witnesses of sexual assault in court by allowing them to pre-record their evidence. The NSW Attorney-General has welcomed an independent evaluation of the project which found it reduced the stress for child sexual assault victims.

Tough new laws with longer jail sentences target child sex abusers

The Advertiser reported about new tougher laws targeting child sex abusers which could mean that serious repeat offenders could be imprisoned for an extended period.  The South Australian Justice Minister said the new laws were “the strongest crackdown on paedophiles in a generation. They will ensure sentencing reflects the horrendous nature of these crimes, by introducing mandatory minimum sentences, additional aggravating factors, and a presumption in favour of cumulative sentencing and imprisonment, rather than suspended sentence.”

Phrases like ‘male’ and ‘female’ could be banned in Australian schools

7 News reported about a call to change school sex education to omit gendered references and make lessons more inclusive for transgender students has sparked debate across the country. As part of the proposed plan, references to reproductive anatomy will use gender-neutral terms to identify these organs.

Children still at risk of sexual abuse

According to Sky News, Justice Peter McClellan, Chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, says that it is important that the lasting changes to child protection are implemented and momentum for change generated by the Royal Commission is not lost when the five-year inquiry ends in December. Justice McClellan also says that recommendations handed down by the Royal Commission must be responded to by governments, institutions and communities to help ensure the protection of children in the future.

Child institutional abuse probe’s approach under fire

The Australian reported about how senior experts warn that the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse is promoting “ethically dubious” and potentially harmful ideas about the counselling of victims of sexual abuse and the reliability of their testimony.  Several leading national and international researchers in memory and psychology say the long-running inquiry has adopted a misguided victim-advocacy role and published misleading, inaccurate research that could potentially undermine the $4 billion corrective scheme for abuse victims.

If you want your children to sleep, get them to school later

An opinion piece written by The Sydney Morning Herald says that children should go to school later so children can get more sleep. According to the American Centres for Disease Control, school children need to have nine to 13 hours sleep per night. According to research produced by the University of South Australia, one third of Australian teenagers do not get enough sleep.

 

INTERNATIONAL

USA: School funding still inadequate and unfair, Supreme Court rules

The Wichita Eagle reported about a Kansas Supreme Court case ruling that the legislature provided inadequate funding to Kansas schools.  The decision ordered that the current distribution was unconstitutional requiring more funding to be distributed to school district budgets statewide.  The decision also ordered a fairer distribution of funding to ensure students in poorer districts have the same educational opportunities as their peers in wealthier districts.

USA: How schools are dealing with students’ right to protest

The Maine Public wrote about how schools are dealing with students’ right to protest after more than 200 NFL players took a knee on Sunday during the national anthem to protest Police brutality. Under American federal and state laws, students do not lose their First Amendment right of freedom of speech when they step through school doors.

UK: Teacher shortages may lead to pay rise above 1% cap

The Guardian reported about teachers in England and Wales who may receive a pay rise next year, after the British Government indicated that it would lift the 1 per cent cap on wage increases. Teaching unions welcomed the decision, coming after several years of below-inflation increases, but they warned that without extra funding for school budgets, any pay rises would simply take money away from elsewhere.

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