News, media releases

Action needed to reduce harm in schools

  • RTI reveals alarming statistics on violence against teachers and students
  • Violence and suspension both have long-term impact on young people
  • Addressing the issue, not petty politics, is needed

Figures released under Right to Information law show violence and suspensions in Tasmanian schools are at worrying levels.

Shadow Minister for Education Josh Willie said students and teachers are on the receiving end of violence and the level of anti-social behaviour is unacceptable.

“Schools are both work places and learning environments. They should be supportive, inclusive and safe places where students have an opportunity to thrive and teachers are able to do the best job of supporting young Tasmanians.

“While it’s impossible to prevent all of these issues, it’s clear some schools are struggling with anti-social behaviour and suspensions. The government should be working closely with those schools and providing more resources if that’s what’s needed.”

Mr Willie said the level of student suspensions is also worrying.

“More than one in eight Grade 8 students were suspended at our schools last year and all of the high school formative years have worryingly high suspension rates.

“Students missing school, and those affected by bullying or violence, suffer not just short-term consequences, but in some cases lifelong impact. Action is needed now to reduce this harm.

“Labor has a policy of putting a mental health worker in every school. These statistics show that’s a resource that’s needed and it would support existing social and emotional learning programs to reduce the incidence of harmful behaviour.

“Students who are engaged and supported at school don’t bully or physically abuse other students and they don’t assault teachers.

“These statistics are not acceptable and the government should be outlining what it’s doing to address the issue, not playing politics.”

Josh Willie
Shadow Minister for Education