‘Enough is enough’ when it comes to violence against teachers declared the State School Teachers’ Union of WA after two attacks at Busselton Senior High School on May 2.
The union slammed state government budget cuts and called for more services to deal with violence, as they offered support to their members who were assaulted in two separate incidents yesterday.
A 14-year-old Geographe teenager faced court on Thursday, May 2, charged with assault of a public officer and trespass.
It is alleged the boy entered the school grounds and was advised by the victim to leave, which he did.
The boy returned later that day, at about 1.40pm and, when told by the 50-year-old victim to leave, it is alleged he punched the victim.
He is due to face court again on May 22.
In a separate incident, a different student attempted to physically hurt another staff member.
Union senior vice president Paul Bridge said student behaviour and violence against teachers continued to be an issue in WA classrooms.
“Enough is enough and teachers and school leaders should be able to go to work feeling safe, not end their day in a hospital,” he said.
Mr Bridge said teachers were finding it increasingly difficult to provide extra support to students who need it most, as resources and funding was being further stretched.
“Our teacher and school leader members are telling us that as a result of budget cuts it is harder to support students in their schools, particularly those who exhibit a range of defiant, oppositional and/or aggressive behaviours,” he said.
“The cuts to the education budget have seen class sizes reach capacity and fewer support staff such as those in student services.
“School psychologists are dealing with a broader range of students in need and at risk, but don't have the time to provide services to all students who need it."
Education Minister Sue Ellery said she had asked the Department to consult with all stakeholders to review the existing policies relating to the prevention of, and response to, incidents of violence in our schools.
“Violence has no place in our schools and we need to have a broader conversation with parents and the community about how, together, we address this,” she said.
“We know there is not one single program, no single silver bullet, to ‘fix’ violence; we need to talk about a range of ways of tackling this.”
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said Vasse was missing out on vital support systems to enable schools to deal with disruptive students because the resources were largely being directed to Bunbury.
“It is only fair and reasonable that the City of Busselton gets a fairer share of resourcing, given there are four Youth Crime Intervention Officers in the South West that are all based in Bunbury,” she said.
“This incident follows another last month which clearly demonstrates the need for more resources and support.”
Ms Mettam wants to see the Department of Police’s School of Special Educational Needs: Behaviour and Engagement and Youth Crime Intervention Officers implemented in Busselton.
The role of Youth Crime Intervention Officers is to proactively engage with Priority Prolific Offenders with an emphasis on addressing risk factors and developing protective behaviours.
Ms Mettam has written to Police Minister Michelle Roberts about the issue after it was said in parliament only six of the 12 students referred to the Bunbury centre from the Busselton/Vasse region were provided with intensive support.
South West District superintendent Mick Sutherland said the officers travelled to Busselton on a regular basis when requested by the officer-in-charge of Busselton Police Station or tasked by the officer-in-charge of the District Engagement and Support Unit.
“The Youth Crime Intervention Officers are a district resource and can be more efficiently and effectively tasked and deployed from Bunbury according to the demand across the South West District,” he said.
This week’s violence towards teachers, follows the serious assault of a student at the school in March.
A 15-year-old boy was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm over the attack
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