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(Australia) Govt fails to protect teachers from attacks by special needs kids

Oct 16, 2018,Canberra Times: WorkSafe launches action against ACT government over school assaults Worksafe ACT has taken action against the territory government after a two-year investigation into violence in public schools found it had failed in its duty of care to staff. Among the incidents investigated by the watchdog was the case of a pregnant staff member punched repeatedly in the stomach by a young student, a teacher hospitalised by a student's kick and a computer monitor thrown at a teacher's head. At another school, a support worker who reported multiple injuries from students was left in harms' way for months as strategies put in place failed to protect them…. On Monday, Work Safety commissioner Greg Jones revealed the watchdog had slapped an enforceable undertaking on the ACT education directorate, alleging the government had breached its legislated responsibilities by not doing all that was "reasonably practical" to ensure the safety of its staff. … The ACT government has already thrown more than $7 million behind reforms to tackle workplace violence since the investigation began, after incidents sparked a series of internal audits and an independent review…. In 2017, incidents reported in mainstream schools climbed to 1500 but the directorate said the total time staff took off work did not increase…. The number of Canberra public school students involved in physical assaults also surged from 233 in 2012 to more than 2000 in 2017. Ms Berry acknowledged the problem would not be solved overnight and a significant cultural change was needed. It was crucial to balance the right of every child to an inclusive education, something strongly supported by recent community consultation, with the need to keep schools safe, she said. All of the incidents WorkSafe investigated involved students with complex needs due to disability or trauma, many of whom were in primary school or kindergarten. … As of September, 48 schools had undergone occupational violence training and WorkSafe has ordered the remaining 39 schools should be trained by the end of the school year…. "[It's] physical violence, verbal abuse, and it occurs across a range of year groups so it's really difficult to find a pattern in this," he said. … The teams dedicated to dealing with incidents also needed to be beefed up, he said. …


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