Parents, educators say 'most of our kids are well behaved'
TEACHERS from Warwick State High School are "bearing the brunt” of negativity as reports about a bullying epidemic emerge from student and parents.
A letter from the WSHS Parents and Citizens' Association said teachers had experienced "hurt” and "anguish” at reports of violence and bullying in the school.
"It is these staff members who bear the brunt of this negativity, and acutely feel the pressure of the criticisms unfairly levelled against them,” the letter reads.
The response comes after a mass of parents, students and past students came forward, detailing a bullying culture that many said dated back years and was not being addressed.
A former WSHS student, who left Warwick last year to escape the relentless bullying he faced at school, said violence was "normal” and claimed teachers did not respond to complaints about bullying.
But the P&C Association said most of the students at the school were well behaved and "exemplary” young people.
Others have used social media to speak up in defence of students.
"We do not have a school full of bullies. Yes, there are a small minority who lack the common respect and decency to treat others with dignity and compassion, but to assert that it's endemic is inaccurate,” Darren Muller said.
The Queensland Teachers Union, of which 90 per cent of WSHS teachers are members, has also responded to reports, saying staff are committed to providing the best education for all students.
"As an essential part of this community, we will continue to work hard to support and educate Warwick's young people,” a QTU spokesman said on behalf of WSHS teachers.
"We could talk about the tireless work of the well-being team including the chaplain, nurse, guidance officer, youth support co-ordinator and community education officer, who run initiatives that directly address bullying throughout the year.”
A Department of Education spokesman said bullying was a complex issue that could take many forms and required a committed response from the whole community.
But former Warwick teacher Deeny Kohler-Caporale said a "total overhaul” was needed to respond to a systemic issue.
Ms Kohler-Caporale performed contract work in the special education sector at schools around Warwick.
She said Queensland's education system for dealing with bullies disempowered students.
If you or anyone you know is affected by this story, phone 24-hour Kids Helpline on 1800551800 or Lifeline on 131114.