Opposition Leader Matthew Guy will today launch a four-point plan to tackle bullying and replace the controversial Safe Schools program if the Coalition is elected in November.The $15.3 million scheme would include: A ROLLOUT of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation's antibullying program in all public schools, with independent schools able to opt in.
A THREE-STRIKE system of disciplinary hearings where serial bullies face their school principal, parents and the parents of their victims.A BAN on the state Education Department overturning the decisions of principals to expel serious bullies.
A REWARD system for students who are nominated by their schools for standing up to bullies as "up-standers and not bystanders".Mr Guy said Victoria could not afford to keep school bullying in the "too-hard basket".
"Everyone deserves to be treated with equal respect regardless of age, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity or appearance and I think that's a really important value to teach kids," he said.PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis found earlier this year that almost a quarter of Victorian students were bullied at some point during school.
Alannah & Madeline Foundation chief executive Lesley Podesta said every child should feel safe at school.If the Coalition is elected, the foundation will run 18 professional development sessions to help schools identify and stamp out bullying.
A new School Safety Unit with the Education Department would oversee the rollout of the foundation's eSmart program in all government schools, and keep a register of the disciplinary hearings serial bullies face.Six pupils identified as "upstanders" by their schools would be honoured in an annual anti-bullying ceremony.
The Opposition's antibullying policy follows its longrunning campaign against the government's Safe Schools program, which will become compulsory in all public secondary schools by the end of the year.Opposition education spokesman Tim Smith said unlike Safe Schools, his party's program would instead provide hands-on strategies to tackle bullying.
"More importantly, we will back school principals when they decide to expel trouble makers to deter further bullying behaviour," Mr Smith said.
From: Herald Sun, Melbourne by Monique Hore18 Jul 2018