Education Minister says new action plan needed to address violence in schools

Education Minister Sue Ellery.
Education Minister Sue Ellery.

STUDENTS who instigate violence in schools could soon receive automatic suspensions under a new action plan being considered by the McGowan Government to reduce violence in schools.

Education Minister Sue Ellery announced a review of the current policies earlier this year after videos were released showing shocking fight within WA schools.

The action plan, which will be developed over the next few months and be implemented from 2019, will include feedback from stakeholders, unions, professional organisations and peak bodies from across the education sector.

Some of the changes already being considered include automatic suspensions for students who intentionally instigate violence against other students – as well as a ‘good standing’ policy in all government schools, where a student who assaults or instigates a fight with another student would lose their good standing within the school and would not be able to participate in social activities.

Ms Ellery said the system needed to “get tougher” on students who cause violence.

“I am shocked and appalled by some of the violence we have seen in our schools this year and something has to change – we need to get tougher,” she said.

“The majority of students do the right thing and come to school ready to learn and contribute, but we do not want to continue hearing stories about students or staff being attacked in places that are designed for learning.

“I’m under no illusion that this is a big issue and it will be impossible to completely eradicate violent incidents, but we must do better.

“To do that, we need the support of the whole community. These issues do not start and finish with the school bell and schools alone cannot address this. We all have a responsibility to teach our young people that violence is never the answer.”