Monday, February 29, 2016

Stupid school bullying policy

Self-defence not allowed!

JAMIESON Reid is a quiet, nine-year-old who keeps to himself and loves to bury his head in books.

On Tuesday he was involved in a shocking and unexpected incident while he was waiting in the school pick-up queue at Musgrave Hills State School in Queensland.

"This week I saw my small-for-his-age, book-loving nine-year-old son attacked by a much larger child," Jamieson’s mother Jessie told Kidspot. "The attacker quickly progressed from jostling to grabbing my son around the throat and holding his bag, stopping him from leaving to get in the car."

"As my husband and I watched in horror from our Tarago in the school pickup line, I saw my son yell ‘Let me go!’ – striking the attacker in an attempt to get away."

"And then I watched in absolute terror as my tiny son was punched in the head three times before a staff member removed the much larger boy."

The next day Jessie got a call from the school to say that her son, along with the other child involved in the altercation, had been suspended for two days.

The distraught mother says her son was the victim and doesn’t deserve to be treated this way. She says it’s proof that the blanket bullying policy in schools is making matters worse for the victims.

"When this ‘zero tolerance’ approach is applied as a blanket policy it is no longer a useful deterrent or a tool against bullying," she says. "It has crossed the line in victim blaming. It’s gone too far and our children are suffering because of school policy," she says.

But a Department of Education and Training spokesperson says the matter was dealt with according to the policy which clearly sets out expectations of student behaviour, and the consequences for students when these expectations are not met.

"The Musgrave Hill State School principal thoroughly investigated this matter. Consequently, the students involved were suspended in line with the school’s Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students," the spokesperson said in a statement to Kidspot.

Oscar Yildiz, from Bully Zero Foundation Australia, also supports the policy stating that zero tolerance is the only way to go.  "If someone is hitting a child, they should move away immediately and get themselves out of danger," he tells Kidspot.

Jessie disagrees says ‘moving away’ wasn’t an option for her son. The older boy, she says, was holding him down. Blanket approaches like this, she says, "allows victims to be beaten if cornered."

The government’s very own Bullying No Way! website agrees with Jessie that a zero-tolerance approach to bullying is not necessarily effective.

One of many points stipulated under the heading "What we know doesn’t work" is – any form of zero tolerance and ‘get tough’ suspensions and exclusions.

Although Jamieson was told that he was not allowed to go to school for two days, his parents still decided to send him yesterday.

"The principal told us three times to pick him up but we said we wouldn’t pick him up because he wants to be at school," Jessie says.

"I shared my frustration and outright anger with my friends and discovered that this is a very common situation," Jessie says.

"One friend [whose child got in an altercation at school] said her son was told he shouldn’t have defended himself because his home life was more stable than his attackers," she says.

Jessie says that another friend pulled her children out of school and now teaches them at home because they were being reprimanded and punished when attacked by others.

She claims victim-blaming is rife at schools as she has gathered anecdotes from all over the country echoing similar experiences.

Jessie says the policy is teaching kids the wrong message.  "Teaching children that defending themselves when they have no other option is wrong and that doing so results in a severe punishment has far reaching implications," she says.

"We don’t teach sexual assault victims that defending themselves is wrong – in fact it is encouraged, why should victims of non-sexual assault be any different?

Jessie is calling on all parents to take a stand on behalf of their children about the blanket policy.

"Zero Tolerance needs re-examining. It doesn’t work in practice in our schools and our kids are suffering as a result. Is this happening at your school? Speak up," she implores.

"Tell the principal this is not OK. Tell the Education Department. Tell the Education Minister. Our kids are worth it."


Kids interests overboard in child protection debate

The AMA has been widely applauded for supporting calls to allow baby Asha to stay in Australia. However, what this latest episode in the highly-politicised debate about refugee children in detention shows is how some kinds of child abuse and its consequences are considered more important than other kinds of child abuse. The plight of refugee children receives the bulk of political attention from those in Australia who consider themselves humane and socially progressive, while comparatively little attention is given to the welfare of children who suffer abuse here.

What this dichotomy reflects is how comfortable or uncomfortable people are in talking about different problems and solutions for offshore child abuse, compared to domestic child abuse – possibly due to how this make people feel about themselves, and based on how politically fashionable discussing some kinds of child abuse is compared to different, politically unfashionable varieties of child maltreatment.

Hence the refugee lobby has often been accused of using children in detention as political pawns to promote quasi-open borders immigration policies. I have no doubt that refugee advocates hold sincere and well-founded concerns for the welfare of children detained in what they call ‘mental illness factories’ on Nauru and Manus Island.

But there is also a large group of children in Australia, numbering in the tens of thousands, who suffer from mental illnesses including depression, hyperactivity, ADHD, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual deviance, conduct disorder, aggression, delinquency, and poor peer relationships and social functioning.

These children are among the more than 43,000 children who live in state-funded foster care in Australia. Virtually all children who live in care have some level of so-called ‘high needs’, and suffer from a complex mix of these behavioural, emotional, health, social, educational and other psychological problems.

The cause of these children’s mental illness and other problems is that they have been severely damaged by Australia’s flawed child protection policies. Because state and territory child welfare authorities over-emphasise ‘family preservation’ at almost all costs, these children have been exposed to prolonged and highly-damaging abuse and neglect by dysfunctional parents.  When they have finally been removed as a last resort, many of these children have been further damaged by highly unstable foster care and repeat breakdowns of family reunifications.

Many of these children could have — and should have — been protected from the profound harm they have suffered in and out of care, had they been removed earlier and permanently from their families, and been adopted by a safe and stable family. Yet adoption is almost non-existent in Australia because it is considered a taboo and socially unacceptable practice. Hence there were only 89 children adopted from care nationally last year.

While there are loud and persistent cries to free kids from detention, there is no campaign by human rights activists to free kids from this destructive cycle of maltreatment and instability. The explanation for this is cultural. Human nature means that most people tend to prefer to take so-called brave stands on popular issues rather than unpopular ones. Hence, many people prefer to support only those causes the prevailing culture rewards them for endorsing, based on how these choices affect their social standing and self-perception.

If you support closing detention ‘camps’, you will be lauded a social justice warrior. If you support adoption, however, you will find yourself marginalised as a conservative throwback to the era of forced adoption and the stolen generation. Hence adoption is not well supported among members of the political class especially, due to status anxiety — the fear that by endorsing adoption they will forfeit any claim to being considered socially progressive. Hence in the public debate, or lack thereof, about child protection policy, what is best for adults takes priority over what is best for the victims of child abuse.

The Australian of the Year, General David Morrison won great acclaim from those who consider themselves socially aware by promising to take up the fight against the racial and gender discrimination that he claims are the greatest barriers to equality in Australia. Imagine, though, how different the reaction might have been had Morrison’s equality agenda highlighted the need for more adoptions to tackle the national child abuse problems that are a major cause of the gross and life-long social inequalities that keep child abuse victims on the bottom rungs of society.

Australian child welfare laws state that the best interests of children are paramount. Yet family preservation-focused practices make a lie of these laws, and adoption remains a largely taboo political subject because this so-called ‘conservative’ cause does not suit the interests of status-conscious adults. For so long as the needs of adults come first, and the needs of kids come last, thousands of Australian children will continue to be churned through the mental illness factories that are child protection systems in this country.


Stolen Generations taboo harms Indigenous children

Alan Jones may have broken a taboo and outraged some with his comments about the Stolen Generations. But all the broadcaster was saying was repeating what many critics of indigenous child protection policies — Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike — have also claimed: that efforts to deal with the legacy of the Stolen Generations can get in the way of rescuing children in the most disadvantaged communities in the nation.

An insight into the harm done to children by this reluctance to remove is offered by the 2012 death of four year-old Aboriginal girl Kia Shillingsworth at Brewarrina Hospital from acute rheumatic pancarditis complicated by viral pneumonia. Or, as the coroner put it in the inquest report handed down in September last year, Kia died "like too many others in remote Aboriginal communities … of a disease of poverty at an early age."

If how Kia died wasn’t shocking enough, even more appalling were the circumstances in which she lived her short life. Not surprisingly, Kia was a ‘known’ child. The NSW Department of Family and Community Services received reports expressing concern for Kia’s welfare, which detailed the usual litany of indigenous child welfare issues — physical and medical neglect, overcrowding in the family home, and inadequate supervision.

The long history of reports, combined with the medical evidence cataloguing her many throat infections and skin infections (boils, ulcers, abscesses and cellulitis) that almost certainly caused her fatal rheumatic heart disease, defied the family’s description of Kia as a "very happy, healthy and active girl". Kia died because of the gross neglect she suffered and from which she was not saved.

Despite receiving four reports of neglect in 2012 alone about Kia and her family, FACS did not conduct an investigation to check on her and her siblings’ welfare. The coroner partly attributed this "wholly inadequate response" to staffing issues and inexperienced social workers operating in a remote, disadvantaged location.

But more revealing was evidence that FACS social workers actually tolerated the unacceptably poor living conditions of many children in remote communities — an attitude described as having grown "desensitised to the risk" due to the "extensiveness of the medical neglect or intergenerational abuse within those communities". But these rationalisations are mutually exclusive; and the real question is why social workers would ignore overwhelming evidence of child neglect.

The answer is that many indigenous children suffer gross neglect — in plain sight of the authorities who are meant to protect them — because of what social workers have been taught about how they should deal with the legacy of the Stolen Generations. The ‘culturally aware’ approach they have been encouraged to adopt towards indigenous child protection encourages them to minimise the threats to children’s welfare to avoid having to remove those children.

These attitudes can be traced back to the influence of the 1996 Bringing Them Home ‘Stolen Generations’ report of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The report claimed that racism had motivated the removal of Aboriginal children throughout the twentieth century because white, western, and culturally arrogant social workers had failed to properly understand Aboriginal culture. Because Aboriginal family practices, such as lax parental supervision, differed from the mainstream definition of the normal nuclear family, these practices had been labeled as neglectful and served as grounds for child removal.

The follow-up claim that cultural bias lay behind the continuing high levels of indigenous child removal downplayed the dysfunctionality in remote communities. Nevertheless, the Bringing Them Home analysis has had a lasting impact on the way social workers are urged to think about child protection matters involving indigenous children.

The 2007 Wood Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW warned that social workers "raised in Anglo-Celtic society may find it difficult to understand … the complexity of Aboriginal family and kinship relationship that are important for a child, and for making decisions about where the child should live, if he or she cannot live with parents."

Such teachings have created powerful reasons why social workers might seek to explain away the problem of child neglect, and would prefer to view the evidence of this as somehow an expression of the uniqueness of Aboriginal culture deserving of respect. Not only does this allow for hard decisions about ‘stealing’ children to be dodged; it also prevents being perceived as culturally insensitive at best, or branded racist at worst. The outcome, though, is that indigenous children are left in circumstances from which they should be removed.

Alan Jones irritates many by saying things that many people don’t want to hear. But he has expressed an uncomfortable truth about the role the legacy of the Stolen Generations plays in the perpetuation of indigenous child abuse. Rethinking how we deal with that legacy needs to be the twenty-first century version of the "whispering in our hearts", if we are to properly address indigenous disadvantage and suffering.


Shocking video emerges of police officer 'punching a man in the face' after three officers tackled him to the ground - as onlookers scream in horror

Shocking footage has emerged appearing to show a violent arrest by police where a man is held down and repeatedly punched in the head.

The video was recorded on Valentine's Day in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast in Queensland, and shows a man with his hands in his pockets being pushed to the ground, pinned down, and then elbowed and hit by police officers.

Women can be heard screaming  in horror as the graphic incident unfolds and leaves the man spitting blood onto the footpath.

The man being punched tells people to record the incident and the person filming reassures him they have captured the incident on camera.

The man at the centre of the video will appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on Friday, and intends to plead not guilty to charges of assault, obstructing police and public nuisance, according to 7 News.

A Queensland Police Spokesman told Daily Mail Australia police were conducting inquiries into the incident, but could not comment further.

No formal complaint has been laid over the incident, which some have labelled as evidence of police brutality in the Gold Coast

The man, a 21-year-old, had been at a 21st birthday party when a group he was with were stopped by police, The Courier Mail reported.

His relative was arrested, prompting him to ask what would happen or where he would be taken, according to reports.

When he gave police his name - Paul Folasa, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin - at their request, the officers responded angrily, friends claimed.

A relative and a friend of the 21-year-old Folasa, from Woolridge, QLD, will also appear in court in Southport on Friday.

Their lawyer reportedly intends to seek an adjournment so discussions with police can take place


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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