I am writing as a mother and carer of a child with disabilities, who had no choice other than to educate my son from home for a number of years due to what I believe is the endemic failure of accountability from staff and students alike which is rampant throughout the NSW education system.
My decision to remove my child from the public schooling system was due to the horrendous bullying, lack of assistance and care for my child.
I was taken by surprise after reading an article in your paper (“Assaults and weapons on playground”, Saturday, January 5) talking about violence and bullying, which contained a claim from the NSW Department of Education that public schools were among the safest places in the community.
As a mother who can completely relate to some of the occurrences that were mentioned in the article, I must ask why it is we are not having an ongoing discussion about the issue so that we can allow the victims of bullying and attacks a voice.
I have to say that it brings me such pain and anguish to hear that even more kids are continuing to be victimised and targeted, but it is even worse when those who are supposed to be protecting them are, in my opinion, failing to do so.
In my opinion, my child was about as "safe" in school as he would have been if you threw him into a lions’ den at feeding time.
In fact, I feel that trying to deny such incidents are occurring in NSW schools not only minimises the seriousness of such issues, but also completely invalidates the experiences and feelings that children and their families have about the whole situation.
Perhaps instead of trying to say that the schools are “safe”, maybe it would be better if the education department starts to acknowledge the problem by starting to take responsibility for what goes on in each school.
To be honest, I find it very difficult to believe that our schools in NSW would be anything but safe when we have people in authority who continue to stick their heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t happen.
Just because you aren’t willing to admit the problem doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
IN OTHER NEWS IN BATHURST:
The saddest part about this whole thing is that until such time as we get those in power, whether they are in the department of education or the state government, to admit that there is a problem, we have very little chance of ever resolving it.
To all of the kids and families out there who have endured such bullying in our schools, I need you to all know that I hear you and I feel your pain.
As parents, we put our absolute trust in the education system, not only to educate our kids, but to look after them.
It is not, for one minute, unreasonable for any of us to expect our kids will be safe in school or for our kids to be able to leave school without the added trauma that comes from being treated so poorly by others.
In fact, it should be expected. Sadly, though, in many cases it doesn’t happen.