May 10: School Governance Weekly Wrap
New advisory body to monitor Catholic reforms in response to child sexual abuse tragedy
According to the Catholic Outlook, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia have established a new advisory group that will play a crucial role in influencing and monitoring the Catholic Church’s ongoing response to the child sexual abuse scandal. Archbishop Denis Hart, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, explained that the new Implementation Advisory Group will monitor the response to the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse and the recommendations of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which led the Church’s engagement with the Royal Commission.
Scots PGC College in QLD responds to Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett’s death
The Australian and News.com.au have reported on the potential for the parents of Dolly Everett to take action against the Queensland boarding school after the parents revealed for the first time the events leading up to the death of their daughter. In an interview with A Current Affair, her parents accused the school of gross failings in their duty of care, and Mrs Everett said her daughter was bullied from her first term. From the ages of 12 to 14 her daughter suffered physical, mental and online abuse by other students. Queensland Law Society deputy president Bill Potts said all schools had an obligation to address bullying if they were aware of it happening.
Teachers ‘helpless’ to protect students because of red tape and lack of support, a casual claims
According to News.com.au, a Queensland primary school teacher who claims he witnessed a student stab another with a pencil says he learned the hard way that the state’s education system works in favour of bullies and against staff who try to protect young victims. Casual teacher Grant Elmsly, 56, made the claims as many parents are calling on all schools, principals and teachers to do more to protect students from bullying. According to the Education department, students who engage in bullying behaviour at state schools are dealt with under the school’s Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students.
School gardener extradited from Queensland to face WA child sex charges
The Age has reported on a former school gardener who has been extradited to Perth from Queensland to face historical child sex abuse charges. He has been charged with 30 offences, with police saying they were committed between 1975 and 1989 when he used his job and involvement in a motocross club to groom boys, who were between eight and 17 at the time of the first crime. The investigation is ongoing.
Busselton Senior High School teacher attacked, student charged in latest violent incident
ABC News has reported on a second attack at Busselton Senior High School in Western Australia after a 14 year old was charged after attacking a 50 year old school teacher who asked him to leave the school grounds. An Education spokeswoman confirmed two students have been suspended from the school for the maximum of 10 days and face being removed from the school permanently. Education Minister Sue Ellery condemned the incidents and ordered an urgent review of school violence policies, especially as this is the second incident at Busselton in the last few weeks.
Police investigate school over financial misconduct
RNZ reported that an Auckland primary school is facing a financial investigation by police and education authorities relating to historical “serious misconduct”. In a letter to parents yesterday, the Matipo Road School Board of Trustees said it had identified a “series of historical concerns”, requesting investigative assistance from the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association, “The school board raised a number of historical serious misconduct issues with us and we supported them to undertake a forensic audit, asset register [check] and an [information technology] audit.” The issue has now been referred to police for further investigation.
NZ First drops ‘severely flawed’ Bill restricting use of word ‘teacher’
In a NewsHub Article, New Zealand First has abandoned the controversial Education (Protecting Teacher Title) Amendment Bill, which would have placed restrictions on who can call themselves a teacher. The Bill would have meant that only those who have trained and are qualified as teachers can use the title in order to “lift the status of teachers”. It would have become an offence, punishable with a $2000 fine, to connect the word with any unqualified person or business. People who were not qualified would have had to use the title of lecturer, tutor or educator instead.
More than 100 New Zealand kindergarten teachers given tree-climbing workshop
According to NewsHub New Zealand, more than 100 Auckland kindergarten teachers have been ordered to take a tree-climbing workshop in order to be allowed to supervise students tree climbing. An AKA spokeswoman said the workshops were created after several pre-schoolers were injured by trees. These risks needed to be managed under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (NZ) and teachers were encouraged to do site assessments of trees and think about the conditions of the tree before allowing students to climb them.
Sexual abuse victims call for Vatican to crack down on Chilean cardinals
According to SBS News, three victims of a Chilean paedophile priest have demanded the Catholic Church force tougher sanctions on complicit cardinals after meeting Pope Francis. The trio were whistleblowers about “criminal” Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, a key advisor to the pontiff who is accused of ignoring and helping to cover up sexual abuse carried out by paedophile priest Fernando Karadima in Chile in the 1980s and 1990s. Pope Francis has summoned the entire Chilean bishops conference to Rome later this month for a dressing down and to discuss reforms in the church.