WA News

Schools to take a stand against violence

State Government releases new action plan to combat school violence in public schools Tough new measures to manage violence, including automatic exclusion process for students who attack teachers New alternative learning settings and programs to change problem behaviour

Western Australian public schools have been empowered to take a stand against violence, with the State Government introducing a raft of new measures to address violent behaviour against students and staff.

In a WA first, the ‘Let’s take a stand together’ action plan provides principals and teachers with new tactics to manage incidents and problem behaviour.

From next year, new rules will apply where any student who intentionally instigates violence – or films attacks or fights – will be suspended automatically.

Principals will automatically move to expel any student who physically attacks school staff, meaning the student is removed from a particular school permanently or for a period of time. Every exclusion order will be approved by the Director General of the Department of Education.

New alternative learning settings to help students manage their behaviour will be trialled, including support programs to help change behaviour. A pilot program will be established in three education regions and will be delivered in consultation with other government agencies and service providers.

From 2019 – for the first time – every graduate teacher employed in a public school will be trained on how to de-escalate and manage aggressive behaviour, as part of their induction program.

Better support for school staff – including clear advice on preventing, managing and responding to aggression and violence – will be provided to help schools.

In total, the plan provides 10 broad actions to help guide schools, families and communities to work together to address the complex societal issue of violence.

The plan follows consultation with stakeholders from across the community about effective ways to bring about change.

The Violence in Schools action plan is specifically intended for those students who intentionally instigate violence. The policy changes will not apply to students with disability who either cannot manage their behaviour or do not intend to harm others.

The action plan is available from the Department of Education’s website at www.education.wa.edu.au

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said:

“Every parent rightly expects that when their child is at school they will be safe and supported to learn. The vast majority of students are respectful and act safely.

“Unfortunately, it is the sad reality that some students come to school and intentionally hurt or attack other students or school staff.

“While every student has the right to an education, they do not have the right to attack other people.

“Schools will do their bit, but this violence doesn’t begin and end with the school bell. As a community, we all need to take a stand to stop violence.

“While violence is a complex societal issue, this plan sets out 10 clear ways to provide a strong foundation for addressing violence in our schools.”

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