26 September 2023

New school guide on how to respect staff

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The Department of Education and Training (DET) has launched a new policy and resources to ensure school staff are treated with respect, following a concerning rise in incidents of aggression towards staff from parents and carers.

Announced by Minister for Education, James Merlino, DET’s new Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy promotes the importance of collaboration and respectful behaviours between parents and carers and school staff.

“The Policy sets out clear guidelines on the expected standards of behaviour for parents, carers and other adults in the school community to reduce the risk and incidence of work-related violence towards school staff, ensuring all education workers feel safe and supported at work,” Mr Merlino said.

“The new Policy includes strategies and resources to help schools prevent and manage unacceptable behaviours from parents and carers, with posters and communication materials to be provided to schools to communicate the new policy – and the expectations around adult behaviours – to their school community,” he said.

“This important work is about keeping schools safe and supporting staff to make sure schools are places where everyone feels safe and respected – creating an environment where students can thrive.”

Mr Merlino said the Policy and resources were linked to the recently-passed Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) Bill 2021, which strengthened protections for school staff against parent and carer aggression.

The Minister said a School Community Safety Order scheme would be introduced in all schools in mid-2022 to allow school principals to issue safety orders in response to harmful, threatening, abusive or disruptive behaviour at work.

“These new laws will also allow schools to prohibit parents and carers from engaging in threatening or abusive communication through social media and other channels,” he said.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe at work – and I urge families to think about how they’re treating their children’s school staff, who have given so much to our communities over the past two challenging years,” Mr Merlino said.

DET’s new Respectful Behaviours Policy can be accessed at this PS News link.

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