||Issue No. 185||04 July 2003|
A Recipe for Conflict
Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
Industrial: Just Doing It
Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Bad Boss: In the Pooh
Unions: National Focus
Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Technology: Dean for President
International: Rangoon Rumble
Education: Blackboard Jungle
Review: From Weakness to Strength
Aussie Workers Cradle-Snatched
Morris McMahon Workers Say Thanks
Violence: Emerson Fingers Abbott
Coke Called on to Stop the Rot
Bridgestone Drops Doughnut on Workers
Maternity Breakthrough in Hotels
Labour Rights: Even Bush is Better!
Long Winter for Seasonal Workers
The Locker Room
After the Accident
Cuba - the Debate Continues
Greetings from Japan
Labor Council of NSW
Teased Teachers Fight Back
By Carly Knowles
The dossier records another teacher being accused of humiliating a yawning student by yelling ï¿½I donï¿½t want to watch you yawning, so next time, have a better breakfast and go to bed earlier.ï¿½
Teacher's Federation secretary Barry Johnson, says such allegations are "ridiculous" and the Federation is concerned that the department spends such a lot of time investigating such trivial matters that real child abuse in the community may go undetected.
"The definition of what constitutes child abuse is too broad."
It was alleged one teacher "engaged in inappropriate contact" by poking a student in the back "causing him to feel some pain". The teacher was in fact intervening to prevent that student assaulting another.
The dossier recorded another teacher telling a student: "If you hit me again, I will report you to the police for assault." That student told the Department of Education and Training the teacher was "intimidating" and should be charged with child abuse.
Once an allegation has been made, even if it is unfounded, teachers are placed on a risk assessment scale and are monitored for a specified period. If teachers choose to leave the school, or the profession, they have marks against their names for the remainder of their working lives.
"The process involving our members is both demeaning and stressful and many of the teachers against whom allegations are made have their careers destroyed," says Johnson.
The concerns are not just disciplinary. A female teacher was unable to comfort a tearful primary child on a school excursion for fears claims would be made against her. The student woke during the night crying for home, but the teacher was afraid to be seen in her nightclothes comforting the boy.
NSW Premier Bob Carr says teachers must be able to comfort children, restrain them from danger, or break up fights without fear of child abuse charges.
"It is essential that commonsense prevails and that we get the balance right between the rights of teachers and child protection" Carr says.
The Premier will get results of the legislative review next month.
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