Bullying Escalates While Government Passes Buck

8 Jul 2008 3:48 PMJann Stuckey

8 July 2008

Jann Stuckey, Member for Currumbin is once again calling on the Queensland Government to stop passing the buck and urgently address the increasing incidence of bullying and truancy on the Gold Coast.

“Recent reports disclosed the fact that more than 14,000 students were suspended for ‘physical misconduct’ in 2006-07, an increase of a disturbing 15 per cent since 2005-06*,” Ms Stuckey said.

“A reply to a Question on Notice last month revealed 155 incidents of a suspension which could result in subsequent exclusion in 2006-2007 in the South Coast Education Region**.”

“Even more revealing was the inability of the Education Minister to provide current statistics on the number of actual suspensions, which mirrored the unavailability of statistics to my questions about truancy.

“An attempt to find out reasons for and length of these suspensions was completely ignored.

“Bullying and truancy go hand in hand according to community sources. Tougher measures are urgently required to curb these dangerous activities.

“The Bligh Government’s rhetoric about being committed to attaining regular attendance and participation at school by all students is hollow and does nothing to proactively address this state-wide epidemic.

“Rather than listen to sensible initiatives such as truancy officers and school-based police officers the Minister flicks these serious matters back to over-stretched and under-resourced schools to deal with single-handedly.

“I commend Elise Nicholls, the mother of bullying victim Jason Nicholls, for coming forward with her suggestion of ‘bullying officers’ to combat escalating violence in our schools.

“What will it take for the Minister to step in and show these bullies that their behaviour will not be tolerated?

“The Education Minister’s lukewarm responses to burning issues such as these, highlights his Government’s arrogant and neglectful attitude.

“In addition, it sends a clear message to bullies that they can continue their cruel, unlawful behaviour because no-one has the courage to stop them,” Ms Stuckey said.

*Heffernan, R. and Pavey, A. 2008. ‘School Violence is out of control – Campaign fails as attacks soar,’ The Sunday Mail, 6 June.
**Welford, R. 2008. ‘Question on Notice No. 878, 15 May