Recent media reports have misrepresented PV’s position on School Community Safety Orders, which are due to come into force early next month. The Orders will give school Principals the power to ban parents from school grounds if they regard the parents’ behaviour as “harmful, threatening or abusive”.
We have expressed strong concerns about these Orders since they were first proposed, and spoke out against them when the legislation to enable these Orders was debated in State Parliament a year ago.
So it was a surprise to read in the Herald-Sun recently that PV “welcomed the move” to introduce School Community Safety Orders. This misrepresentation was repeated on news.com.au a few days later. (The Herald Sun has apologised for the honest misrepresentation and understands PV opposed the orders from the outset.)
The Herald-Sun had access to two articles on our website that make our position very clear:
For the record: Parents Victoria does not welcome the introduction of School Community Safety Orders, we have many concerns about them which are detailed in the above articles.
It’s crucial to examine why parents and carers become agitated and/or abusive when dealing with school staff. In some cases, it will be because the issues affecting their child have not been adequately addressed by the school, and they are at their wits’ end.
Of course, we would never condone violence or abuse. In fact, the main point of our Think, Wait, Communicate campaign is to encourage parents to ‘cool off’ when feelings get high, and to always communicate clearly and respectfully with their children’s school. We’ve always been advocates for building stronger relationships between parents and schools, so that issues can be resolved before things get heated.
We don’t believe that banning parents from schools will help.
PV has been working extremely hard over the last few years to impress on the Victorian Government to invest in two of our objectives – Family Engagement Officers and Relationship based Education (RbE). We believe that schools and families would benefit greatly from having additional human and “how to” resources to build relationships and reset when breakdown/conflict occurs. Additionally, knowing our school families better, working together and being better informed and prepared when concerns or challenges arise, would lead to better student outcomes.
Herald-Sun follow up article
The Herald-Sun published another article about this topic on 22 June, giving PV Chief Executive Officer Gail McHardy a chance to put our view more comprehensively. The article begins, “Parents Victoria is calling for schools to have more help to build better relationships with parents so there is a stronger connection when conflict arises.” The article was published in the print edition, but does not appear to be available online. The article quotes Gail extensively, as follows:
“Having stronger links between homes and schools will act as a proactive and preventative measure,” Parents Victoria chief executive Gail McHardy said.
“Knowing our school families better, working together and everyone being better informed and prepared will lead to better student outcomes,” she said.
“Relationships should be built as soon as a child enrols at a school. We ac knowledge this takes work, but the benefits for all can have a huge impact’ Parents Victoria has restated calls for these roles due to new legislation banning aggressive or violent parents from campuses.
“It’s crucial to examine why parents and carers become agitated and/or abusive when dealing with school staff,” she said. “We don’t believe that banning parents from schools will help.”