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(Australia) Violence at Canberra elem school endangers kids; "behavioural issues" noted

Feb 13, 2019, Brisbane Times: Minister orders investigation into Canberra school over violence ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry has defended her record on addressing school violence and ordered an investigation into the handling of a string of incidents at a Canberra public school, which had left at least one child in hospital. In November, the minister asked the Education Directorate to look into long-standing complaints about escalating violence at Theodore Primary, after about 30 parents sent her a petition calling for government intervention. … But, while officials met with the school the same month, the directorate confirmed on Wednesday it did not review incidents at the school until last week, following an approach by The Canberra Times. ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry says she sought personal assurances that policies were in place at the school. A directorate spokeswoman said "all incidents at the school" had now been looked at and the government was supporting Theodore Primary to put further strategies in place to address behaviour issues. Ms Berry said she had been assured policies were in place at the time of the incidents, which stretched back to 2017, but she was still awaiting the findings of the directorate's investigation as education officials ramped up supports for staff and students. Facing down a barrage of questions from the Canberra Liberals in the ACT legislative assembly this week, Ms Berry said she had been talking to teachers about the support they needed to keep schools safe since her appointment as minister. … Supervision on the playground had since been stepped up at the school and structured activities during breaks, including new clubs, would kick off from next week. Shadow spokeswoman for education Elizabeth Lee said communication problems with parents did not explain the escalating levels of violence reported at the school and asked what was being done to support students who had been victims or witnesses of violence. This week, some parents told The Canberra Times they were concerned directorate attention was focussing on teachers rather than an apparent lack of resources at the school they said had left some children unsupervised during breaks. …although a specific breakdown of what caused those injuries was only available at a school level. …


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