June 13: School Governance Weekly Wrap

AUSTRALIA

Bank details, TFNs, personal details of job applicants potentially compromised in major National PageUp data breach

According to the ABC News, PageUp, which boasts 2 million active users across 190 countries, posted a statement from chief executive Karen Cariss on its website, saying it had noticed “unusual activity” in its IT infrastructure on May 23. Australia Post, one of their clients, said the types of personal information that could have been compromised for successful job applicants to the postal service were bank details, Tax File Numbers, superannuation details, home addresses and drivers licence numbers. PageUp’s company statement said it had notified the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and engaged with Australia’s Computer Emergency Response Team and equivalent United Kingdom authorities.

Concerns for students with disabilities as national report reveals widespread bullying, assaults and suicide taunts

The ABC News reported that more than 56 per cent of students with disabilities had experienced bullying over a 12-month period, a national survey has found. The survey, by Children and Young People with Disability Australia, revealed students experienced a range of bullying including being punched, kicked, headbutted, cyberbullied, spat on and having food or rocks thrown at them. Some had been told to take their own lives. The chief executive of Children and Young People with Disability Australia, Stephanie Gotlib, said the bullying could have ongoing negative impacts on the targeted students.

QLD State budget to deliver on Blue Card reform

According to a QLD Government Media Release, the Blue Card system will be allocated $17 million over the next three years to implement the Government’s ‘no card no start’ laws and streamline the blue card application process. Mrs D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government had broadly supported the intent of the recommendations of the Keeping Queensland’s children more than safe: review of the blue card system report, and with over 250,000 blue and exemption card applications each year it was important to get the best system possible, “The reforms are significant and will require a planned and considered implementation over phases and a number of years.  It is important that we get the staging of these reforms right. The report made 81 recommendations to further strengthen the Blue Card system, including: improving cultural capability in the system and conducting an overarching review of the legislation.”

Parish priest stood down in Victoria over child safety concerns

The Age reported on a Catholic priest who presides over two parishes in Melbourne’s south who has been ordered to take leave while he is investigated for allegedly breaching child safety laws. Archbishop Denis Hart has asked Father Paul Newton, the parish priest for St Kevin’s Ormond and St Patrick’s Murrumbeena, to take a period of administrative leave while parishioners’ concerns are probed. Parents at St Patrick’s Primary School Murrumbeena at St Kevin’s Primary School Ormond were told of the news at the weekend.

Reportable conduct scheme in ACT extended to confessional, despite last-minute plea

According to the Canberra Times, Priests in Canberra will soon be forced to break the seal of confession to report child abusers, despite fears the new laws impinge on religious freedoms. All three parties in the ACT Legislative Assembly supported the bill to extend the mandatory reporting scheme to cover churches – and the confessional from March 31 – although three Liberal politicians spoke out about their concerns. The new laws will require religious organisations’ “activities, facilities, programs or services” to report allegations, offences or convictions related to children to the ACT Ombudsman within 30 days and launch an investigation from 1 July 2018. The clause around the confessional won’t apply until 31 March, 2019, so the government and the clergy can determine how the laws will work.

Ellis defence reforms: NSW to scrap legal loophole, opening up churches to being sued

According to the ABC News, barriers preventing victims from seeking justice will be removed based on recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse. Under sweeping changes to NSW’s civil litigation laws, survivors of child sexual abuse will now be able to sue organisations, including churches. A new statutory duty of care will also be imposed on all institutions that exercise care or responsibility for children.

Parents say Goodwood Primary School banned cartwheels, handstands and backflips

The ABC News reported that Goodwood Primary School has banned cartwheels, handstands and backflips for safety reasons. Education Department guidelines provide general advice about schoolyard safety, but allow schools flexibility to implement or outlaw specific practices. SA Primary Principals Association president Angela Falkenberg supported Goodwood Primary’s decision. Parents have stated that “The decision to place a ban on gymnastics activities seems extreme and inconsistent with a school that has been viewed as progressive. It also seems incongruous with the values and benefits of nature-play that the school appeared to be embracing.”

Perth parents keep students home from public school after repeated violent outbursts

According to The West Australian, a public primary school with a “no-suspensions” policy has had so many violent incidents that angry parents are refusing to send their children to class because of fears for their safety. Parents say students and staff at John Butler Primary College have been terrorised by repeated violent outbursts from a handful of children and they are demanding more action from the Education Department. Five staff from the Butler school have lodged workers’ compensation claims this year for injuries resulting from physical attacks by students. Parents have complained that aggressive students do not face any consequences for their actions because principal Brett Lewis has adopted a program called “Play is the Way”, which says pupils’ behaviour should not be “manipulated” using rewards or punishments. Education Minister Sue Ellery said she did not support a no-suspension policy.

 

INTERNATIONAL

NZ Member’s Bill to stop child sex offenders at border

According to Business Scoop NZ, Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott has lodged a Member’s Bill to protect vulnerable children by stopping New Zealand child sex offenders from leaving the country without police approval. “The Customs and Excise (Child Sex Offender Register Information Sharing) Amendment Bill will subject those listed on the New Zealand Child Sex Offender Registry to border alerts,” Mr Scott says. “This means they can be stopped before they leave New Zealand and local authorities can ensure the proper process has been followed before they are able to proceed overseas.”

School gives pupils bulletproof shields as gift

According to the NZ Herald, graduation presents for students on their final day at St Cornelius Catholic School were rectangular “ballistic shields” — half a kg bulletproof plates that can slide into a backpack, giving the 13- and 14-year-olds protection from an array of small-arms fire. The Safe Shields given to the students at St Cornelius in Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania, were donated by Unequal Technologies, a Glen Mills-based company. The business makes protective gear, mostly for people playing team sports, according to AP. But it also manufactures the ballistic panel, a backpack insert aimed at the school-age market.

Canada’s child pornography regulations flagged for inconsistencies, say internal memos

The CBC News reported that the federal Department of Justice has quietly agreed to amend the regulations on internet child pornography after Parliament Hill’s legal fact checkers spotted problems with the law. The regulations brought in by the Harper government in 2011 to accompany a new child pornography law require that Canadian internet service providers (ISPs) report child pornography to the police. The regulations include a unique provision that asks a designated organization — the Canadian Centre for Child Protection — to review any online files flagged by ISPs or members of the public to determine if they constitute child pornography. The Manitoba-based charity is seen as the leading voice on the issue in Canada. For that reason, the regulations require that all of the centre’s personnel have “necessary security clearance and training”, and a review of this term is pending.

Leave a comment