October 12: School Governance weekly school wrap

AUSTRALIA

NSW school abuse claims a concern

News.com.au reported about the NSW Premier vowing to leave no stone unturned to protect children with disabilities after the NSW Department of Education revealed it received 246 allegations of abuse by school staff over the past two years. Of the 246 allegations made between November 2015 and April 2017, 13 cases required disciplinary action.

Mum ‘gobsmacked’ at school’s response to autistic son being tied to restraining chair

ABC News reported about an autistic boy who was strapped to a restraining chair in class. Last year the autistic boy was strapped to two types of chairs at a Government school.  The boy and his mother received an apology from the NSW Education Minister who said that “I was shocked and horrified to see a device like that being used in a NSW public school.”  Over the last two years, 246 complaints have been made about the mistreatment of disabled children.

Remove gendered school uniforms, address inequality, urges child rights group

ABC News wrote about how Plan International, a child rights organisation, is calling for gendered school uniforms to be removed by state and territory governments following a research survey they released. Plan International surveyed 1,700 girls aged between 10-17 and discovered that an overwhelming majority of girls did not think they were treated equal to boys.  In their report, Plan International recommends that state and territory governments introduce legislation that removes gendered uniforms and allows students to wear what they feel comfortable in. 

Australian parents want schools to teach more social skills, survey finds

According to The Guardian, a new study conducted by Monash University and the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) says 69 per cent of parents across the government and non-government school sectors believe that schools should be teaching more social skills, while almost half of parents surveyed want their children to be taught how to “behave in public.” The chief executive of the ASG says that he had seen “a marked increase” in parents wanting what he called a “more holistic education” for their children.

Detectives begin speaking with former students over historic abuse allegations

According to 9 News, a Queensland non-government school has accused an alleged victim of child sexual abuse of seeking “notoriety” by going public with their story.  In April, Queensland Police re-opened the investigation into the allegations, after a retired teacher who worked at the school confessed to raping boys.  Queensland Police would not comment on the specifics of the investigation but urged students who have been abused to come forward.

Brisbane teacher’s aide jailed for luring drunk boys

The Courier Mail reported about a former Brisbane teacher’s aide who will spend a year in jail for luring four high school students to an isolated park to commit drunken sexual acts.  The court heard that the children, one 14-years-old at the time and the other three who were 17-years-old, agreed not to tell anyone about the abuse because they were embarrassed and thought they would get in trouble. Judge Anthony Rafter SC commented that the accused’s conduct was “utterly disgraceful.”

NT Children’s Commissioner calls for action on ‘unacceptable’ abuse in care

ABC News reported about the Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner calling on the NT Government not to wait for the release of the Royal Commission into the Protection of Children’s specific findings for the protection and detention of children to make urgent reforms to the child protection system.  The NT Royal Commission was meant to release its report at the end of September, but has delayed the release to allow NT government agencies to respond to criticism.

 

INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand: Assault rifles to be auctioned at Wellington school

Newshub.co.nz reported about a Wellington school hosting a military weapons auction. At the auction, shoppers will be able to purchase a multitude of firearms ranging from semi-automatic weapons to assault rifles.  Police will be present at the auction and people who purchase weapons must show they have the correct licence to own guns.

UK: Teacher ‘locked boy, 4, in a cupboard for an hour because he was being naughty at school’

The Sun wrote about how a teacher locked a 4-year-old boy in a cupboard for an hour because he was being naughty. The boy allegedly hit a lunch lady and his mother was called to pick him up.  When the boy’s mother came to collect her son, she discovered that her son was locked in a storeroom cupboard after hearing her son’s screams coming from the cupboard and seeing a teacher holding the door shut.

USA: A school was evacuated over a ‘strange odour.’ It was pumpkin spice air freshener

According to The Washington Post, students were evacuated after there was a strange odour detected by students at a Virginia school.  Students and teachers began to cough and had trouble breathing so the school was evacuated, the fire department was called to investigate the cause and five members of the school community had to be hospitalised for respiratory issues.  It turned out that the strange odour was coming from a pumpkin spice plug-in air freshener.

USA: Employee brings gun to school after threatening message

ABC News reported about an employee who has been suspended for bringing a gun to school in response to the school receiving a threatening voice message.  Luckily the message was left there by mistake by an 81-year-old man who thought he left the message on another person’s answering machine. Unfortunately, the man has been charged with making terrorist threats towards the school.

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