Addressing school violence

The ACT Council of Parents and Citizen Associations - the peak body for public school parent associations - has partnered with the ACT Education Directorate in a project which aims to address violence in schools.

“Violence is a community problem, not just a school problem. This means a community approach is needed to find better ways to deal with violence, and that is what this project is about,” said Veronica Elliott, Council’s Policy Officer. “We can’t expect a guarantee that violence will never occur in our schools. But we need to greatly reduce it and to improve the way schools manage and respond to violence.”

“In the past year or so we have been listening to parents about their family’s experiences with violence and bullying in our schools,” explained Ms Elliott.

“Over time some staff, students and families have been subjected to incidents of violence which have left long-term consequences and trauma. In some cases, the school’s response has been inadequate. Some parents have felt that they are not being listened to.”

“We have been sharing this with the Education Directorate and we are working together towards reform,” she said. “This new project aims to fully understand what is happening, the challenges, and how to make our schools safe and inclusive places to which parents can confidently entrust their children.”

“We already know that parents account for around 5% of violent or threatening incidents against school staff and this is not ok. How can we teach our kids violence is not ok when the adults around them respond violently?”

“We’d like parents and students to be involved, to have their say. We think that together we can find solutions.”

Members of our public school communities can participate in targeted sessions to gain their insights during Term 2. Parents should look out for information in their school newsletters or contact Council office to go on a mailing list to receive details and invitations to participate.

“We want to hear from anyone and everyone who has something to say,” said Ms Elliott.

“This isn’t going to happen overnight, but we must work towards a future where school communities form strong partnerships and work together to minimise violence and to respond effectively and talk openly and clearly when violence does occur.”  

Released Tuesday 30 April, 2019