July 12: School Governance Weekly Wrap

AUSTRALIA

National Redress Scheme has commenced

In a Media Release from the Australian Government, it was announced that the Department of Education and Training has joined the National Redress Scheme. The National Redress Scheme provides acknowledgement and support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse and was created in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which estimated that 60,000 people experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Australia.

High school students suspended after Nazi salute, bullying

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a year seven student gave the Nazi salute to taunt one of his classmates amid a series of anti-Semitic incidents at an inner west high school. Two students were suspended after a teacher witnessed the incident at the Balmain campus of Sydney Secondary College, a state high school, early last week. But the anti-Semitic bullying had gone on for at least a month before then. The parents of 18 year seven students – both the bullies and their victims – were contacted during the investigation sparked by the June 25 incident. Most of the harassment is understood to have been propagated by the two ringleaders, who were suspended.

Bega school at centre of bullying complaints, as anti-bullying campaign ramps up

According to the ABC News, two weeks after the arrest of a 13-year-old girl over the assault of another teenager at a school on the New South Wales south coast, a family has shared how their daughter’s suicide attempt forced her to leave the same school. It comes as an anti-bullying campaign petitions the NSW Government to create legislation imposing harsher penalties on school bullies. The former student’s family said the school failed to take appropriate action after a senior teacher was shown messages sent using the social network Snapchat. Anti-bullying campaigner Mel Graham said thousands of Australian families are equally frustrated by the way state schools are handling cyber bullying. However, one of Australia’s leading experts on teenage bullying behaviour said parents might be surprised how much schools were doing behind the scenes. Associate Professor Barbara Spears from the University of South Australia’s School of Education said relationships between 14-year-old girls could produce some “nasty stuff” and the challenge for schools was keeping up with technology and students’ evolving maturity.

School traffic ‘lollipop man’ who allegedly filmed child sex abuse released on bail

According to ABC News, a Perth judge has granted bail to a “lollipop man” accused of more than 300 child sex offences, after expressing concern that he has spent more than two years in custody awaiting trial. Michael Cyril Hyde was arrested and charged in April 2016 over allegations he had recorded himself sexually abusing five children — a child aged less than one and four other children aged up to 10 — over a period of about five years, when he was working as a school traffic warden. He was also charged with possessing 26,000 images and videos of child pornography, and has been held in custody ever since. He is due back in court next month, when a trial date may be set.

New research shows NSW teachers working long hours to cope with administrative load

The Conversation reported that teachers are working an average of 54 hours per week (43 hours at school and 11 hours at home) due to the increasing administrative demands on them to meet compliance standards. This is one of the key findings of the Understanding Work in Schools report released on 9 July 2018. 87% of respondents reported an increase in workload over the past five years, since the implementation of devolved schooling through Local Schools Local Decisions policy. The Sydney Morning Herald said that the majority of teachers (91%) reported administrative demands were a hindrance to their core job, while 89% cited high workloads. Teachers are coping with the challenge of this major administrative load by working longer hours.

INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand primary teacher’s registration cancelled after student abuse

According to The NZ Herald, a Horowhenua primary school teacher has been stripped of her teaching registration after grabbing the face and twisting the nose of a student with Down syndrome, and causing scratches to the child’s face and neck. Yvonne Horohau Te Peeti was struck off in a decision released this week by the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal for the incident, which is not the first time she has been investigated for using force against students in her care. The teachers disciplinary tribunal’s decision stated the physical force used was a clear cut case of serious misconduct that was “absolutely prohibited”.

Teacher leaves profession in New Zealand after being disciplined for tripping runaway special needs student

According to Stuff.co.nz, a teacher who tripped a runaway special needs student has left the profession after a disciplinary body ruled his attempt at restraint was an “inappropriate use of force”. The teacher maintained the incident, which was captured on CCTV, was an accident and he was trying to restrain the boy with an approved torso hold to keep him from possible danger. The New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal decided that, “irrespective of the [teacher’s] views on the matter, absconding was not a situation which required restraint”. The student had a history of running off, and of threatening and aggressive behaviour. The school’s principal said its protocol for runaways was “for the teacher to track at a safe distance” and an independent expert said there was “no indication” the teacher attempted any safe restraint techniques.

Not playing around: Pre-primary kids in Canada no longer allowed on Halifax school playground equipment

In the CBC News, it was reported that insurance concerns have lead Halifax Regional Centre for Education to keep young students off some play areas. Schools are covered by the Nova Scotia School Insurance Program. “The advice from SIP was that children under five should not be using playground equipment if it is not CSA-approved for that age group.” That means the 560 pre-primary students registered for September won’t be able to use any playground equipment marked for five and older. That covers most playground equipment. It also means four-year-olds in primary must wait for their fifth birthday to use the slides and climbing areas.

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