Bullying: How Effective are Qld Schools in Reducing the Incidence of Bullying and Violence.
Much has been written about bullying at schools, many parents of students have been dissatisfied in the manner their children are treated by their particular school, specifically by the Department of Education & Training once a report of bullying has been made.
For example, a QT article dated May 8, 2009 described how one child was so badly terrorised at Mt Tarampa State School, that after years of bullying his mother pulled him out of school.
One ponders why the victim is compelled to leave school, why not the perpetrator/s?
On April 30, 2009 The Chronicle reported on a seven year old girl who had been tearing her hair out because she was emotionally stressed about being sexually abused by another student at Wilsonton State School.
On December 1, 2015 The brisbane.times reported that a 12 year old girl at a Caboolture school
had been charged with attempted murder after slashing the neck and hands of a fellow female student.
On October 19, 2015 The Gold Coast Bulletin reported on a wild brawl between rival student groups in the carpark of the Pacific Pines State High School.
During April 2016, at a well-known Ipswich State High School, an unruly male student spat in the face of a female student and slapped another female student in the face.
It is alleged, the male student has a history of aggression, disruptiveness & anti-social behaviour coupled to other psychiatric issues.
On May 24, 2013 The Courier Mail reported that a record seven child suicides in 2012-13 are likely to have been caused by bullying.
Data drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children found that almost 1 in 3 students aged 10-11 years reported being bullied or picked on by peers, with name calling being far more common than physical bullying (Lodge & Baxter, 2013).
Let's return to the April 2016 incident at a 'well known Ipswich State High School'.
The male student was subsequently handed a ten day suspension.
This punishment flies in the face of the Qld Government's rhetoric that it has been working hard to address the increasingly complex issue of bullying, cyber bullying & violence in schools.
The ten day suspension is a token punishment because the school is aware of this student's prior behaviour and alleged psychiatric issues.
The student has a ten day holiday and upon his return to school, taking into consideration his past behaviour, will he assault another student, will he become disruptive again or worse?
Bullying can be illegal & it is an offence if someone is physically violent, intimidates, threatens, stalks, harasses, damages or steals another person's property.
In some instances, legal action may be taken against the bullies or the school because the school has a duty of care to ensure the safety of all its students.
It should be noted, taking legal action is complicated, expensive and it must be proven the bullying caused serious emotional harm.
The question remains, are schools more interested in propagating how great they are than keeping students safe, specifically in light of these token punishments handed out to disruptive, anti-social and useless bullies?