Amanda Balmer

School drugs, violence down

NORTH Coast schools are experiencing less violence and seeing fewer drugs pass through their grounds, with the Department of Education attributing the decrease to a number of new anti-violence strategies.

The Northern Star used access to information laws to get details of violent and drug-related incidents in NSW public schools during terms one and two this year from the Department of Education and Communities.

In term one there were 29 violent incidents, including 16 assaults and three drug incidents, in North Coast schools.

In term two, there were 22 incidents.

A student from a school in the Lismore area was suspended in May after he brought to school fuel, aluminium cans and rags, which he used to start a fire in a store room.

During a NAPLAN exam in May, a North Coast student grabbed a supervising teacher by the throat after the teacher asked the student to be quiet.

In March, a school in the Richmond Valley Local Government Area was placed into lockdown after a Year 8 boy threw chairs around a class room and abused staff.

Despite these examples of violence, the number of incidents in terms one and two this year was down more than 30% on the same period last year.

In term one in 2010 there were 34 incidents and in term two 45.

The encouraging decrease comes after the roll-out of numerous anti-violence strategies.

"DEC's North Coast region has made a priority of increasing the number of schools implementing the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) process," a Department of Education and Communities (DEC) spokeswoman said.

"PBL is a school-wide systems approach to prevent problem behaviour.

"Non-violent Crisis Intervention Training has been accessed in increasing numbers by staff across North Coast region.

"The training equips personnel with appropriate behaviour management skills to safely resolve situations where they may be confronted with anxious, hostile or violent behaviour."

This year, all NSW Government schools were also required to review their anti-bullying plans.

Incidents in North Coast schools - Term 1 and 2 2011

  • Assaults- 28
  • Drugs- 6
  • Other- 2
  • Threats- 7
  • Weapons- 8
  • TOTAL- 51


What do you think of your local school? Leave a comment below.

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