Ombudsmen's Office wants compulsory anti-bullying programmes in schools» 09/09/2011, Posted by Site Admin
The Office of the Ombudsmen has released a report into bullying at Hutt Valley High School in 2007, which reveals that school authorities failed to protect victims, alert parents or report numerous attacks to police.
The Ombudsmen's Office is calling for anti-bullying programmes to be mandatory in all schools in the wake of its investigation into serious assaults at Hutt Valley High School. The Office also wants to see victims gaining a voice in school disciplinary processes and greater guidance for school discipline.
The report followed an investigation into complaints arising from a series of violent incidents that occurred at Hutt Valley High School in December 2007. The complaints were made by a group of parents against the school, Child Youth and Family and the Education Review Office.
The report says the serious assaults that occurred at the school in late 2007 were part of a 'systemic problem of violence', which the school had recognised but had not addressed satisfactorily. There was a lack of student supervision outside of class time, with teachers not performing scheduled duty, some for fear of their own safety.
The report recommends that school national administration guidelines be amended to make anti-bullying programmes compulsory in all schools, rather than it being simply a recommendation from ERO. It recommends the Ministry of Education provide schools with more specific guidance on the levels of punishment appropriate for various actions.
The PPTA response to the report claims it illustrates a systemic failure by the Ministry of Education and the wider government to support schools with bullying, and that bullying as an issue is not isolated to Hutt Valley - 'teachers across New Zealand have asked for help with student behaviour for years,' says PPTA President Robin Duff.
'Dealing with difficult students requires a range of government agencies to work together. It requires a sophisticated level of collaboration and leadership and adequate funding. Intervention should occur as early as possible and PPTA want to see the implementation of evidence-based programmes coordinated by the state agencies involved.'
Duff said Tomorrow's Schools created a lack of transparency due to competition for students. 'No one is going to put up their hand for help if it meant negative messages in the media that could threaten its enrolment numbers,' he said.
The Ombudsman's full report is available online at www.ombudsmen.parliament.nz/