A media report in The Northern Miner on 19 March included quotations from the principal of Charters Towers State High School.
The paper did not approach the principal, or the department for comment or clarification of the story. As such, the story misrepresented the school's position on bullying.
Here are the facts:
On 19 March 2013, The Northern Miner ran a story titled 'Bully breaks girl's arm' (Page 5).
The article unfairly represented the school and its principal.
The comments referencing the principal were defamatory and parts of the article were biased and without fact.
At no time did the journalist approach the department for comment or clarification of quotations made against the principal's name.
The story totally misrepresented the position Charters Towers State High School takes on bullying.
Bullying and violence are not tolerated.
Any situation that threatens the safety and wellbeing of students and teachers is treated seriously, and dealt with as a matter of urgent priority.
Every primary and secondary state school in Queensland has a Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students, which clearly sets out the school's expectations for student behaviour, including bullying, and the consequences for students when these expectations are not met.
Consequences can exclude suspension, exclusion or cancellation of enrolment.
We are disappointed that the department was not approached for clarification of the facts in the article.
The department is more than happy to provide access to our schools and/or comment and clarification when requested by media organisations.
However, we are most disappointed when this communication is not utilised.
A recent media report in the South Burnett Times quoted a local parent who alleged little had been done to prevent her daughter from being bullied at school.
Here are the facts:
On 31 August, the Department of Education, Training and Employment was asked by the South Burnett Times to respond to allegations of bullying at Kingaroy State High School.
The department does not tolerate bullying in any form and reports of bullying are taken very seriously.
The department issued a media statement attributable to Greg Dickman, Regional Director, Darling Downs and South West Queensland on 31 August.
The article rightfully quoted the student's mother, but failed to include the fact, as outlined in the statement issued, that Kingaroy State High School has provided extensive mediation and support to the students involved and will continue to work closely with students as required.'
The article also incorrectly pieced together words from two separate sentences to create what was used as a continuous quote.
The paper quoted Mr Dickman as saying the school would take action 'when bullying is considered serious'.
The quotes provided actually read:
'The (Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students) also outlines what actions the school will take when bullying is reported'
'In serious cases, Queensland state school principals may take disciplinary action in accordance with this plan.'
Ultimately, this adjusted the intended meaning of the two sentences and inaccurately represented the department's handling of the sensitive issue.
A recent media report suggested parents who volunteer to participate on state primary or secondary school P&C groups will be subject to the same Code of Conduct that applies to all Department of Education, Training and Employment staff.
There has always been an expectation visitors, contractors or volunteers - including P&C members - at a state school act in an appropriate manner.
In 2011 the department assisted the Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Association (QCPCA) to develop its constitution model, which includes an agreement by members to abide by the Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct does not restrict P&C members from talking to the media at all or on any topic, as was claimed in the media report.
If the P&C member does talk to the media, however, he or she should make it clear that their position is not that of the department or that of a school representative.
The use of the Code of Conduct as a model for all P&C associations across Queensland maintains consistency in expectations and standards of behaviour, and promotes the highest possible quality learning environment for all students.
If a breach of the Code occurs at a state school, visitors (including P&C members) can't be disciplined under the Public Service Act the same way a public servant would be, but organisations and individuals may be excluded from department premises or from further engagement in department activities.
Parents rightly expect that anyone visiting a state school will not compromise the safety or education of the students, and that the department will not engage with people or organisations who do not display the appropriate behaviour.
Two of the Department's most popular music programs, Fanfare and Musically Outstanding Students (MOST), are set to continue for the next two years, despite some media reports to the contrary.
Thanks to a Public Private Partnership with AEG Ogden, the immediate future of both biennial programs is secure.
AEG Ogden will provide $150,000 over two years as well as the use of their venues to support MOST in 2013 and Fanfare in 2014.
AEG Ogden manages venues throughout the Asia Pacific region, including the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre, Cairns Convention Centre, Suncorp Stadium and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall.
The Department of Education, Training and Employment will continue to coordinate the programs.
View a full copy of the Minister's media statement .
This page was last reviewed on 21 Mar 2013 at 04:35PM