Schools ‘need crime aid’

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Vasse MLA Libby Mettam and State School Teachers Union WA representative Geoff Holt say Busselton schools are not adequately resourced to deal with disruptive students.
Camera IconVasse MLA Libby Mettam and State School Teachers Union WA representative Geoff Holt say Busselton schools are not adequately resourced to deal with disruptive students. Credit: WA News.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam and State School Teachers Union WA representative Geoff Holt say Busselton schools are not adequately resourced to deal with disruptive students.

Ms Mettam said Busselton was missing out on vital support systems to enable schools to deal with disruptive students and limit their negative impact on other students because resources were being directed to Bunbury.

Her comments come after an incident at Busselton Senior High School last month in which a student was hospitalised after being attacked by another student.

Ms Mettam said she believed the culture at local schools was generally good but that there were some students who needed the additional support of wrap-around services.

One service available to schools in the South West is youth crime intervention officers, with four officers based in Bunbury.

Ms Mettam is now calling for a YCIO to be based in Busselton.

Mr Holt said additional resources to support schools in dealing with at-risk people would be supported.

“It appears that Busselton has not received the support made available in other locations such as Bunbury, and there is a clear need for additional resources to tackle the issues of antisocial behaviour and juvenile crime,” he said.

“Research shows that early intervention is more effective in dealing with at-risk youth, with a significant correlation being observed between truancy from school, risk-taking and antisocial behaviours and interaction with the juvenile and adult justice systems.”

Education Minister Sue Ellery said the support offered to schools in Busselton was the same as Bunbury and that support went to where it was needed.

“A school psychologist is available to all schools and is suppored by a lead school psychologist who is available to consult on more complex or challenging cases,” she said.

“Teachers and school staff are also able to access a wide range of professional learning programs including Classroom Management Strategies, Positive Behaviour Supports, Youth Mental Health First Aid, Verbal Judo, de-escalation and trauma-informed practice.

“Each school makes the decision about what programs are most relevant to them and their students.”

A spokesman for Police Minister Michelle Roberts said decisions on deployment were made by WA Police.

Ms Mettam said having the officers available had the potential to assist troubled students dramatically and give teachers the opportunity to get on with teaching.

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