Suspensions soar in Peel region schools

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

Department of Education statistics show there were 763 suspensions at three Mandurah high schools last year, with one school having 10 per cent of students suspended in term two. 

The Mandurah Mail has received a strong response from the community following an article last week on a student who was assaulted at school and this week has spoken to another student about her experiences with bullying. 

Last year, at John Tonkin College there were 435 individual suspensions, with 215 students out of about 1090 suspended.

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There were 233 suspensions from Halls Head College, with 154 individual students suspended, from about 1400 enrollments. 

Coodanup College handed out 95 suspensions, with 73 individual students suspended from about 680 enrollments in 2017.

An Education Department spokeswoman said not all of the suspensions were related to “threatening behaviour”. 

In relation to handling bullying in Peel schools, the spokeswoman said strategies were used to change the student’s behaviour.

“While the majority of students are well behaved, schools are part of the community with students from a variety of backgrounds, so from time to time schools deal with wider social issues that are brought into the school environment,” she said. 

“Schools have plans for individual students, with a range of measures to address poor behaviour.

“These can include mediation and psychology services, through to suspensions and in extreme cases, exclusion.”

The spokeswoman said families could help to tackle bullying. 

“Schools use the most effective strategies to help students turn their behaviour around, but these strategies will only be effective if positive behaviour is reinforced at home,” she said. 

“If a parent is not satisfied with the course of action taken by a school, they can contact their regional education office for advice.”

The trauma from bullying is felt both immediately at school and long after students have completed school, according to a March 2018 PwC consultancy study titled The Economic Cost of Bullying in Australian Schools.

“Whilst the bullying itself may stop after school, the potential consequences may continue to impact family and community members and the health system, in addition to the individual involved,” the study said.