August 26, 2019

Parents of bullied kids can sue school, advisor says

Parents of bullied kids can sue school, advisor says

Pupils who are bullied in schools may be able to seek redress in court, the Children’s Commissioner’s principal advisor Janis Carroll-Lind says.

Parents of kids could sue schools which failed to act when their children were bullied, Dr Carroll-Lind told a forum on bullying in Auckland yesterday.

“Schools had both a duty of care to their children and a fiduciary obligation similar to a doctor-patient relationship.”

She said there was the potential to go to court if schools were found to have breached their duty of care, The New Zealand Herald reported.

If doctors, school counsellors and psychologists working with young people could prove that a young person’s health was affected because of the bullying, there was the potential for the courts to deal with the case, Dr Carroll-Lind said.

A girl in Australia was recently awarded compensation after being bullied from the age of eight. Her parents had to move her to an expensive private school after the bullying came to light.

Schools needed to be much more consistent in their responses to bullying, Dr Carroll-Lind said.
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Schools to look into undercover bully-watch

Schools to look into undercover bully-watch

Children’s aggressive behaviour will be monitored and measured in all of the nation’s 2370 schools, if a new government proposal to curb the growing incidence of bullying goes ahead.

The plan is still in the early stages, but it is understood that the Ministry of Education, police and the Children’s Commissioner will seek tenders for a system to monitor aggression and bullying in every school.

The suggestion comes after Children’s Commissioner Dr John Angus last week issued a new guide – called “Responsive Schools” – on how to combat increasing levels of physical, verbal, emotional and technological bullying. Among the recommended techniques is a system that recruits students to secretly work “undercover” in their school, alongside a teacher, to fight bullying.

The government has already started a $45 million campaign to bring schoolyard misbehaviour under control. The “Positive Behaviour for Learning Action Plan” includes parenting programmes for 12,000 parents, specific training for 5000 teachers of children aged three to eight, and long-term help programmes for 400 secondary and intermediate schools with the worst behaviour problems.

But the Sunday Star-Times has learned that another tool, to monitor violence and students’ fears in school, is being planned. Angus said the new scheme would allow teachers and parents to “understand the social climate in their school”.

Education Minister Anne Tolley confirmed work was under way on the scheme. It was being put together by the Ministry of Education, police and the Children’s Commissioner.

It is understood the new tool will work like a student survey, where pupils report regularly on how comfortable and safe they are at school. The data will be collected so that school leaders can quickly identify a deterioration in a school’s climate and spot problem areas.

Similar surveys have been carried out in the past by groups such as the New Zealand Council for Educational Research but only in a one-off, snapshot format. The new tool would eventually work in every school, all of the time.

When victims felt safe reporting incidents, and where there was systematic gathering of information on the frequency of bullying, programmes were more likely to succeed, Tolley said.

Angus’ “Responsive Schools” report lists scores of different anti-bullying programmes in use around New Zealand but warns that whichever one a school chooses, a community-wide change of culture must go along with it.

Among the anti-bullying techniques commended in the report is one where students work “undercover” to cut bullying. Three or four pupils who are neither victims nor bullies are asked to join an “undercover team” along with one or two bullies.

Teachers, the victim of the bullies, and the other team members know of its existence, but no one else does. The team comes up with a plan together to help the victim and progress is communicated to the teacher regularly – often via email.

The approach, pioneered at Auckland’s Rosehill College, is commended in the report. “The sense of intrigue makes the setting up of the undercover team into a playful approach,” it says.

Principal of Auckland’s Papatoetoe High School, Peter Gall, said the majority of schools would have some sort of anti-bullying programme in place by now. “It’s a matter of treating every situation seriously. You have to, because if you don’t it can come back to bite you.”

Some people thought bullies would grow out of it and that some children were just “life’s victims” but that was nonsense, he said. “It’s all very well until it’s your child that’s bullied – then things change quite rapidly.”

By JOHN HARTEVELT – Sunday Star Times

Read this article here:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3570417/Schools-to-look-into-undercover-bully-watch

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Legal option after School bullying

27 March 2009 7:28 p.m.

Dear Everyone,

I’ve pasted below a news article that exemplifies many of the vast multitude of things wrong with the state’s schooling institutions. I’m letting off a bit of steam because I am so angry at this rotten system that systematically practises institutionalised child abuse by teachers and administrators who are so desensitised to it, they will round on parents and bully them if they dare question what goes on. Many of these lousy schools are in blatant denial, refusing to admit they have a problem. The most amazing thing is that parents and even doctors and nurses will often side with the school against the victimised child, even in the face of bruises, cuts, crying themselves to sleep at night and having vomiting fits the next morning at the thought of returning to the place of torture.

This week has been amazing. I’ve had so many phone calls and emails from parents wanting to start home education because of the bullying their children have suffered for months, sometimes for years. One mum felt she didn’t want to send the child to school since he was so tender at age 5. She considered home schooling, but decided it was too radical a step. Now, at age 6, her son is toughed up and so much more sophisticated as everyone typically said he needed to become…and he is also defiled because of the sexual abuse he suffered at school. She now forever regrets the day she ever trusted him to the state. Another mum’s 10-year-old has significant physical disabilities which require a full-time aide. But the boy has had enough of the school-supplied aides and the constant teasing, as the nature of his disability is somewhat personal. He would prefer his mum, but the several schools approached will not have it as they not only dislike parents observing the reality of the classroom, they say it causes children to become too dependent upon their parents! And besides, they say, the boy stinks (due to his disability), and they’d prefer it if she would find another school. And so the boy refuses to enter the school grounds, the parent is begging them to let her instead of aides attend to her son’s needs, but they won’t let her, and she is now being threatened by a Group Special Education person with police and CYFPS and truancy officers if the child is not in school immediately!

It’s a flamin’ madhouse!

This article below has a typical school response to bullying. “Oh, it’s only girls being girls, boys being boys. It’ll blow over.” So when the girl spirals downhill and hits bottom, it turns out she has parents willing to do something: sue the school. Good on them, I say! Man, has it sobered up the school! The principal all of a sudden comes out of denial and makes a statement most principals would confess to only once they’d been stretched on the rack: “It does not matter what a school does, it can never be resolved completely.” This woman admitted that it is a permanent, on-going, unstoppable problem. We got a straight honest answer at last. I mean, this girl was bullied even after she left the school…by text messages!

The very threat of a legal suit also flushed out the fascinating, yet totally unknown fact, that “it is a statutory requirement for schools to take all reasonable steps to prevent bullying from occurring while pupils are at school,” and that “Failure to take such steps could result in criminal prosecution and hefty fines.” If all parents of school-abused children would simply threaten to sue the school, bullying would be slashed. A few successful suits, some bullies taken down, and the problem would recede way out onto the horizon.

But worst of all is the so-called Children’s Commissar, Cindy Kiro, criticising the parents for considering such an option, but uselessly offering no course of action in its place.

If you don’t know what is going on in these institutions of systematic child abuse called state schools, you need to find out. And then tell your friends and rellies to get their children OUT of those places as soon as possible. All I have to do is read the education column of Stuff.co.nz…it’s enough to make your toenails curl. But I’ve been reading it and other sources for over 20 years…I have stacks of clippings and e-articles of the most horrendous goings on, that just don’t stop, no matter how hard the schools try to cover up…and don’t fool yourself…they go to great lengths to slam the lid on any negative publicity.

Get yourself a subscription to TEACH Bulletin http://hef.org.nz/2007/teach-bulletin-1yr/.  It’s only $9 lousy bucks for 6 issues a year and almost always has a good sampling of the latest in state school violence, as well as other political and statist trends in relation to schools, home education and parenting. Get your friends and neighbours a subscription, too, for it will open their eyes. We’ve got to be informed and stop pretending everything is all right. We’ve got to get children out of the schools, and we’ve got to embolden parents to speak up when their children are being abused by the system.

TEACH Bulletin is available from us at:

Craig & Barbara Smith

Home Education Foundation

PO Box 9064

Palmerston North 4441

New Zealand

Ph. +64 6 357-4399

craig@hef.org.nz

www.hef.org.nz

Legal option after bullying

By NATHAN BEAUMONT – The Dominion Post

Last updated 05:00 21/03/2009

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/2281076/Legal-option-after-bullying

A family is considering legal action against a school after a girl was bullied for so long that she lost 12 kilograms, spent three weeks in hospital and had to move to another school.

The children’s commissioner has described the case as “completely unacceptable” and said she would be prepared to investigate.

And a lawyer is warning school boards that they could be prosecuted by parents whose children suffer emotional harm as a result of bullying.

The parents of the 15-year-old victim said St Mary’s College in Wellington did not do enough to stop the ordeal, which started in August 2007.

Though the bully had written an apology letter to the victim, her family said it was still seeking answers from the school board.

The victim informed the school counsellor when the bullying started, but was told it was just “girls being girls” and would “blow over”, her mother says.

But it did not blow over. Instead the victim said she endured taunts and rumours for a further seven months at school.

The girl’s mother said her daughter developed an eating disorder, lost 12 kilograms and spent three weeks in hospital recovering. The claim was backed up in a letter from a clinical psychologist that was sent to the school.

“After assessment it was clear that [her] weight loss was not due to concerns about her appearance but rather was as a tool to help her maintain control of herself during an episode of bullying by girls at school.”

The parents removed their daughter from the school, but said the taunts continued, with bullying text messages.

St Mary’s principal Mary Cook said the school did everything in its power to deal with the situation.

“The issue with bullying is that it is very difficult to deal with and isolate. It does not matter what a school does, it can never be resolved completely. We do everything we possibly can.”

Meanwhile, a lawyer has warned that it is a statutory requirement for schools to take all reasonable steps to prevent bullying from occurring while pupils are at school.

“Failure to take such steps could result in criminal prosecution and hefty fines,” John Miller said.

Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro said it would be a “sad day” if bullying victims started taking legal action.

“It’s not a route we want to go down, that’s the American way. It is an option, but it is the least constructive option.”

The victim’s mother said the family was keen to explore legal action. “Definitely, we would be keen to look into that area.

“All schools have different approaches to bullying, but St Mary’s seems to be: keep it quiet and deny, deny, deny.”

LETTER TO VICTIM

Letter from the bully to the 15-year-old victim after she left St Mary’s School.

“I don’t want you to have to leave all your friends because of all this shit. I am so sorry for everything. You have no idea how bad I feel. I would do anything to take back what’s happened and everything I have said and done, not only to you, but your friends.

“I know that we will never be friends, but I want us to be anything but enemies. I am so sorry for everything that has happened in the past year. I hope you get better soon and that this letter means even a little something to you.”

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School Bullying Expected Outcome of Social Agenda

MEDIA RELEASE 16 March 2009

School Bullying Expected Outcome of Social Agenda

Family First NZ says that concerns about school bullying are a simple result of the culture we have experimented with, which includes children’s rights, media standards, undermining the role of parents, and removing consequences.

“Why are we surprised by bullying and violence in our schools when children are fed this material through the media constantly,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Kids are bullying each other, kids are bullying teachers, kids are bullying parents. Bullying is not just a school problem, and it’s not just a youth problem.”

“We cannot continue to feed the minds of our young people with the level of violence, sexual content and disrespect for authority that is prevalent in the media and our culture without it affecting the minds of some of our most impressionable and at-risk teenagers and children.”

“But schools are suffering in particular because they are being forced by the Ministry of Education to put up with increasing levels of unacceptable behaviour and are being criticised for suspending these students.”

It is also significant that as schools have removed corporal punishment, schools have become more dangerous. School yard bullying by pupils on other pupils and staff is now the new form of ‘corporal punishment’ in schools.”

“All of these young people have entered a system of education and society where discipline and responsibility are being replaced by the politically correct nonsense of children’s rights. Ironically, this has been pushed by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner who is now crying foul.”

“The anti-smacking law has also undermined the role of parents, has failed to understand the special relationship and functioning of families, and has communicated to some children that they are now in the ‘driving seat’ and parents should be put in their place.”

Sweden, one of the first countries to ban smacking in 1979 suffered a similar fate with assaults by kids increasing 672% in the 13 years following the ban. A recent UN report on European Crime and Safety found that Sweden had one of the worst assault and sexual violence rates in EU.

“Student behaviour and bullying will continue to deteriorate for as long as we tell them that their rights are more important than their responsibilities, that proper parental authority is undermined by politicians and subject to the rights of their children, and that there will be no consequences of any significance or effectiveness for what they do,” says Mr McCoskrie.

ENDS

For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42

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