As we settle into 2022 and enjoy being back to onsite learning, everyone in the school community has a right to a safe and healthy learning environment and workplace.
Recently, the Minister for Education launched a new policy and resources to ensure all schools are safe and positive places to work and learn.
As we continue to prioritise health and safety in schools, including required mask-wearing for some students, everyone has a part to play in creating a safe and respectful environment. While most Victorian school have positive and constructive relationships with parents and carers, everyone suffers when someone is violent or aggressive towards school staff or any member of our school community.
Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy
The new Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy available on the Department of Education and Training's website promotes the importance of respectful and collaborative relationships between parents, carers and school staff. It sets out clear guidelines on the expected standards of behaviour for parents, carers and other adults who interact with the school community to reduce the risk and incidence of work-related violence towards school staff.
Posters for school staff and parents/carers have also been developed for display in schools. In addition, resources in multiple languages have been provided to help schools communicate the new policy with their school community.
New advice page on managing challenging parent/carer behaviour
The release of the new policy is aligned with a new chapter titled 'Parent/carer Behaviours' that has been added to the Work-Related Violence in Schools Policy and Procedure (previously named Occupational Violence and Aggression in Schools Policy and Procedure).
This chapter outlines strategies and resources to help schools prevent and manage unacceptable behaviours from parents, carers and other adult members of the school community. This includes guidance to help establish and promote respectful and safe parent and carer behaviour, prevent and de-escalate unacceptable behaviours and access support and services to restore wellbeing after an incident.
New Respectful Behaviours in Schools webpage for parents
A new web page has also been created for parents, linking to the new Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy and with additional information and resources to support parents to engage positively with school staff, including the appropriate pathways for raising concerns or complaints with schools and other useful resources for parents.
This work is linked to the new laws introduced by the Andrews Government, which strengthens protections for school staff against parent and career aggression by empowering authorised persons, such as principals, to issue School Community Safety Orders in response to harmful, threatening, abusive or disruptive behaviour at work. The new School Community Safety Order scheme will be introduced to all schools in mid-2022.
Violent and aggressive behaviour has no place in Victorian school communities. Staff and any other member of school communities should not feel that being subjected to violence and aggression is part of the job and are encouraged to report any risks or incidents of violence and aggression to their school leader and through their reporting mechanisms. If you need help understanding the information on this page, please contact school on 03 9803 4590.