John Butler Primary College to be forced to suspend violent students after parents express concerns

John Butler Primary College. Picture: Martin Kennealey
John Butler Primary College. Picture: Martin Kennealey

THE ability to suspend misbehaving students will be forced on a Butler public school following parent concern over student and staff safety.

Education Department director general Sharyn O’Neill sent a letter today to John Butler Primary College making it clear the school had had enough time to respond to a November review showing leadership and behaviour problems.

“The director general has made it perfectly clear that the school has had enough time,” department acting deputy director general Stephen Baxter told ABC Radio.

“She’ll have a letter go out today to the school, indicating that the policy will change.

“That there will be a stronger approach to consequences. And that suspensions will be one of those consequences.

“That said we will continue to provide support to the school.”

A “worried parent” contacted Community News after the misbehaviour of some Year 5-6 children forced the evacuation of a class and injuries to some students and staff.

The parent said several families had taken their children out of the school and others were considering doing the same after claiming the principal was not properly acting on their concerns about violence.

“In my child’s class (Year 5-6) the students and staff are exposed to physical violence, bullying, threats to life and racial slurs from other students,” the parent wrote.

“Either getting hurt themselves or witnessing their peers and teachers get assaulted.

“Three children in this class are constantly causing these disruptions, with one child alone causing five to six incidents this year.

“During a recent incident, chairs were thrown, there was punching, kicking, choking and verbal abuse.

“Ten-year-old children were hidden under desks, moved, placed into lock down and endured a frightening 2.5 hour-long onslaught.

“The dramatic incident ended with four students and three staff members being injured and the children then expected to pose for class photos.”

The parent said placing the misbehaving students back in the class – after being taken to a unit called the hub until they showed they knew how to act properly – was dangerous.

“The school has a behaviour policy that is vague at best,” the parent said.

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