Posts Tagged ‘Police’

Police Charges for Teen Bullies is More than Appropriate

November 17, 2014


This was an awful incident, made worse by the fact that it was one of the attackers that posted the footage online. At least the police reaction gives us some hope that such conduct will not be tolerated:


Victorian police have charged a 15-year-old Ballarat boy after a video emerged online showing him bullying another boy.

The video was posted on Facebook last week and showed the teenager and several others threaten to stab the boy if he did not hand over his jacket.

Detectives said the teenager was charged on Monday morning with one count of assault with intent to rob.

He was bailed to appear at a children’s court.

Former police officer and cyber bullying expert n Susan McLean said the video was “distressing” to watch.

“The young victim was clearly petrified and the boys just kept going and going and going,” she said.

“I think as a society we need to say ‘well no, this is not a part of growing up, this is not character building, it’s wrong, it’s criminal and it needs to be dealt with’.”

She said people needed to be encouraged to report bullying.

“This young boy didn’t even go home and tell. This all came to light because it was posted online. So we’ve got to encourage a culture of telling, telling an adult,” Ms McLean said.

The video had been viewed online more than 300,000 times.

Police said their investigation was ongoing.


Click on the link to read African Children Bullied at School Because of Ebola

Click on the link to read Another Vicious Schoolyard Fight Video Emerges

Click on the link to read Bullying from a Teenager’s Perspective

The Era of Protecting the Criminal and Leaving the Victim High and Dry

October 30, 2012


A scandal erupts where a child care worker allegedly rapes a young child. Were the parents who send their children to this center informed?

Of course not!

That would be acting transparently and we can’t have that! Fancy putting the interests of the victim over the welfare of the accused:

POLICE reject claim by Education Minister Grace Portolesi that they advised against telling parents that an out-of-hours school care program staff member sexually assaulted a child in his care.

Mark Christopher Harvey, of Largs North, was convicted in February this year of unlawful sexual intercourse with a young girl in 2010 while she was attending his out-of-hours school care program in the northwestern suburbs.

However, a mother of children who also used the program – who did not want to be named – has said parents were never informed.

Ms Portolesi emphatically told Parliament yesterday the decision to keep the information from parents had been “on the advice of SAPOL”.

However, a statement released last night by SA Police said the principal of the school involved was “advised by police that she should consult with DECS (the Education Department) to formulate a method of advising the school community what had occurred”.

Ms Portolesi refused to respond to the statement and stood by her earlier comments in Parliament.

The mother who spoke yesterday said her two children only told her there was a problem after a school friend saw Harvey on the TV news.

Her children were interviewed this year by police after raising their own concerns about Harvey.

At no time since his arrest had the school or the  notified parents oEducation Department apologised and no counselling had been offered, the mother said.

“I just want to know why we weren’t advised,” she said.

“I think it’s our right. I feel like a failure as a mother because I was not advised of this and was not able to help my children from the start.”

In Parliament, Ms Portolesi said that Harvey’s employment was “immediately terminated” on discovering his offence.

Opposition education spokesman David Pisoni told Parliament Harvey had been employed by the department for a month after his arrest.

“Why has the community not been officially notified?” he said.

Click on the link to read Just Wait a Minute! This isn’t Madagascar!

Make an Example out of Jeremy Forrest

September 25, 2012

Catch him, and if he is found guilty, throw the book at him. His jail sentence should be long enough to serve as a deterrent for the entire teaching community:

Police hunting for runaway teenager Megan Stammers have released an image of her boarding a ferry to Calais in a car driven by her married maths teacher.

The 15-year-old schoolgirl, who has not been seen since last week, was caught on camera in the passenger seat of a dark Ford Fiesta, as she caught a ferry to the Continent with Mr Forrest, 30, from Dover last Thursday.

This afternoon, as Megan’s anxious mother and step-father made an emotional appeal for her safe return, it emerged that the schoolgirl had been receiving after-school tuition from Mr Forrest prior to her disappearance.

She is said to have arrived in France with Forrest after it was disclosed she had sent a message to a friend, but police conducting a cross-Channel search fear the pair could have travelled further into Europe.

Estranged Danielle Wilson and Martin Stammers tearfully told a press conference of their shock that Megan fled the country in secret with Forrest – who had said online their forbidden love had ‘hit me like heroin’.

Detectives have admitted they do not know the pair’s current location, but today released the image of the teacher and pupil boarding a ferry last week.

Click on the link to read Now that Jeremy Forrest is Arrested …

Police Handcuff a 6-Year Old Student

April 18, 2012

I wasn’t there so I should be careful not to be too critical, but I can’t help but wonder how calling the police on a 6-year old having a severe tantrum is the right way to go. I feel this drastic step is a very bad look for the school. It gives the message that all is not right at the place where parents trust that their child is safe and well cared for. When a 6-year old presents such a risk that police are required, it doesn’t say a great deal about the school’s capacity to deal with problem students, especially older ones.

Police in Georgia defended their decision Tuesday to handcuff and arrest a 6-year-old elementary student after the school called to report a juvenile had assaulted a principal and was damaging school property.

Milledgeville police said they were called to Creekside Elementary School on Friday for an unruly juvenile, who was allegedly throwing a tantrum.

According to their report, when the officer arrived, he observed kindergartner Salecia Johnson on the floor of the principal’s office screaming and crying.

The officer stated in the report that he noticed damage to school property and tried numerous times to calm the girl, who eventually “pulled away and began actively resisting and fighting with me.”

“The child was then placed in handcuffs for her safety and the officer proceeded to bring her down to the police station,” said Chief Dray Swicord.

Despite the girl’s behavior, her family said police should not have been involved.

“I don’t think she misbehaved to the point where she should have been handcuffed and taken downtown to the police department,” Johnson’s aunt, Candace Ruff, told CNN affiliate WMAZ.

The girl was released to Ruff after numerous attempts to reach her parents failed, the police report said.

Swicord said his department still has not heard from the girl’s mother or father.

But the parents have spoken to reporters.

“Call the police? Is that the first step?” Johnson’s mother, Constance Ruff, asked.

Johnson’s mother said she wondered if there was “any other kind of intervention” the school could have used to help her daughter.

“They don’t have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child,” said Salecia’s father, Earnest Johnson.

I also wonder why the school couldn’t have dealt with this in-house, or at least call a family member before resorting to getting the police involved.

Having said that, I feel that the parents should have declined interviews and resisted finger-pointing, and instead focussed on the behaviour of their child. That child needs to know that her behaviour was unacceptable and dangerous. By focussing on the school’s handling of the incident, the parents seem to be sending the message that this behaviour was somehow excusable.

I am also quite comfortable with the police’s handling of the situation. Once called, they have every right to use handcuff should they deem it necessary to subdue the child.

There are millions of loving parents out there with often a lack of choice when it comes to the schools their child can go to. They need to have the confidence that if an incident erupts the school has the wherewithal to deal with the problem in a calm and thorough manner.

By calling the police on a 6-year old, I wonder what message that sends to parents who have no choice but to trust that their child’s school is capable of looking after its students.

Teachers Advised Not to Report Acts of Violence

April 8, 2012

Surely teachers are one of the most important figures in the educational process. If you were to do a hierarchy of influence when it comes to the education of a child, surely the teacher would feature prominently.

Why then, are teachers treated as if they offer next to nothing? Why is such a crucial ingredient in successful educational outcomes disrespected to the point where they aren’t able to defend a loss of dignity or report a physical assault?

The story below may come from New Zealand, but it looms as a universal story if the treatment and welfare of teachers doesn’t improve dramatically:

A teacher is punched in the face, another is shoved in the chest and their lunch stolen, one is regularly verbally abused while another has their car vandalised. But at the schools’ request, none of it is reported to police.

Post-Primary Teachers Association president Robin Duff called the situation “intolerable”.

He said, in the PPTA News, the teachers’ union could not continue to be “complicit in this conspiracy of silence” that concealed the level of violence within schools.

He said competitiveness in schools gave them an incentive to hide issues of violence towards teachers and staff, and some schools did not want police involved because it could lead to negative publicity.

The national executive was “particularly concerned” to learn that some schools were actually forbidding teachers from reporting instances to police.

In one case a teacher was sitting in their classroom eating lunch when a student walked in and punched them in the face. The school told the teacher not to go to police because it would be dealt with internally. Nothing happened.

Another a teacher was shoved in the chest and their lunch was taken.

There were also numerous reports of teachers being punched, kicked or threatened, and property including cars and houses, being vandalised.

One teacher said every teacher knew a colleague who had been verbally abused, physically threatened or suffered instances with students out of control and a risk to themselves and others.

“Senior management of schools are under pressure to reduce instances of suspension and expulsion and we all know of instances where there is pressure not to report assaults on persons, or criminal damage to teachers’ property.”

Standardised testing, dismissing so-called “poor teacher”, increasing teacher’s responsibilities and paperwork demands are all methods for improving the academic standards of schools.

I would argue that all those methods are doomed to failure. Any other initiative will have a similar fate, unless it comes on the back of a recognition that the teacher is a crucial stakeholder in the education of our children. Until they are respected, supported and appreciated, our children are unlikely to reach their potential.


Scaring Our Children Senseless

November 9, 2011

It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to protect children and educate them on the dangers that exist in the ‘real world’.  However, in attempting to prepare children for incidents and scenarios that are unlikely to happen we have seemingly created a fear and paranoia that has proven quite destructive to the same children we are trying to protect.

A surge in reports of men acting suspiciously near schoolchildren has triggered urgent talks between schools and police, who fear the ‘‘stranger danger’’ message has gone into overdrive.

Police say heightened fears of children being stalked on Gold Coast streets are unfounded, and the increase in reports is the result of people jumping at shadows after a rash of incorrect media stories.

Regional Crime Coordinator Dave Hutchinson says some incidents are made up, and others are cases of children taking fright for no good reason.

I am a bit concerened at how scared and anxious our children are becoming, and teachers are slightly to blame.  Besides stranger danger and other programes that inhabit fear in students, many teachers in Australia have been scaring children with doom and gloom predictions about global warming.  No matter what your position is on this issue, it is important that teachers instruct, educate and empower children, instead of frighten or demoralise them.

There is a huge difference between helping students become perceptive, instinctive and responsible and helping them to  become fearful and paranoid.

At the end of the day, the importance of the message is lost when it inspires an irrational and overpowering fear.

Laws That Seek To Protect Our KIds Fail Them

October 9, 2011

The same laws that seek to protect children are being severely undermined by a total lack of common sense.

Australia has a sexual offender registry which was designed to assist the government authorities to keep track of the residence and activities of sex offenders.  You don’t have to be Einstein to realise that being on that list is detrimental to that person’s ability to get a job, loan, sense of freedom and quality of life.

The registry is a vital tool in dealing with pedophiles.  That is why I was astounded to read that children caught ‘sexting’ photos of themselves or friends have been put on this very list:

HUNDREDS of teenagers have been charged over producing or distributing child pornography amid growing concern that “sexting” has reached epidemic levels.

In the past three years, more than 450 child pornography charges have been laid against youths between the ages of 10 and 17, including 113 charges of “making child exploitation material”.

More than 160 charges were laid in 2010 alone – 26 more than in 2008.

Parents and communities continue to grapple with the issue of “sexting”, where sexual images are exchanged via SMS.

Teens who engage in sexting not only risk child pornography charges, but can also be listed alongside serial pedophiles and rapists on sexual offender lists.

Police confirmed that some juvenile offenders appear on Queensland’s sex offender registry.

Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said “a lack of parental supervision” was a key factor.

“They’re ignorant of the law and no one’s ever sat them down and said ‘When you take a picture of yourself and send it, that’s child pornography’,” he said.

Dr Carr-Gregg said a conviction would have a “catastrophic” effect on a teenager’s future.

“If a young person is put on the sex offenders registry, they have to notify police every time they change their hair colour and wouldn’t easily get visas to places overseas, and it’s going to make employment difficult,” he said.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally against the practice of “sexting”.  I don’t like it one bit.  But these kids are not sex offenders.  One of the reasons children shouldn’t be ‘sexting’ in the first place is to make sure those images don’t get in the hands of a real sex offender.

The application of this law does 2 very serious things.

1.  It paints children wrongly as sex offenders.  This may have dire consequences down the track; and

2. Having ‘phony’ sex offenders on a sex offender registry completely undermines the registry in the first place.  This is a very serious list, dedicated to sick and evil people.  It shouldn’t be undermined by including silly kids who made poor choices.

It is time the Government stepped in and amended the law so common sense can be restored.

Court Ruling Forces Teachers to Act Like Police Officers

October 6, 2011

Why is it that Government and now the courts think it’s appropriate to constantly change our role and responsibilities?  Why can’t we do the job we have been doing for centuries without having to take on new unfamiliar duties?

A 14-Year old was acquitted for holding up a service station and stabbing the attendant because the teacher he confided in reported it rather than caution him.  Apparently, the teacher had a duty to warn the student about his legal rights.  Because the teacher failed to have that discussion, the child got off.

TEACHERS could be forced to warn students as young as 10 about their legal rights before counselling them after a remarkable court decision.

A 14-year-old boy who confessed to his teacher that he robbed a service station and stabbed the attendant with a knife, has been acquitted after the District Court refused to allow the teacher’s statement into evidence because he had not “cautioned” the boy.

It could change the way teachers and students relate to each other, NSW Teachers Federation President Bob Lipscombe said yesterday.

“This is potentially very serious for teachers,” Mr Lipscombe said.

“Teachers are expected to provide advice, assistance and counselling to young people on a daily basis and during the course of that, many things are disclosed to teachers.

“Most are fairly insignificant but often there are matters disclosed that are quite significant and in such cases teachers have never been advised that they can only act on information if they have previously cautioned the student,” Mr Lipscombe said.

The federation was taking urgent legal advice, he said.

“No teacher in the course of their work would caution students in the way this case states,” he said.

“Clearly this teacher did think he was doing the right thing and acting responsibly.”

Last time I checked teachers were neither police officers or lawyers, so why should we be expected to act like them?  Surely this teacher acted responsibly, first for consulting his/her superior and then for reporting the matter.

What do they mean by giving a caution anyway?

“Next time, I recommend you not stab the person.  He may get hurt.”

Yet another ridiculous and insane development for Australian teachers.

Police Want Parents to Spy on Their Kids Online

May 29, 2011

So bad is the problem of stalking paedophiles preying on children, that Police are advising parents to spy on their kids’ online activities.  In a perfect world parents should resist spying on their kids, as their trust is essential for a close relationship.  However, there are exceptions to this rule.  The rise of evil paedophiles who prey on naive and impressionable children, may present parents with little choice.

Parents should keep a regular and close eye on what their children do online, say Scottish police, especially on who they are chatting to.

The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) is concerned about the growing threat of grooming and the dangers of paedophilia. The Scotsman reports that since Operation Embark was set up to tackle the problem two years ago, 18 people have been convicted of online grooming and sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison, 23 years of probation, and 840 hours of community service.

Detective Inspector Eamonn Keane, who heads the SCDEA’s e-crime unit, said: “There’s various software to assist parents in helping them keep their children safe on the internet, which can help identify their computer history.

“You can set your governance tools to search for key words, so if there’s been sexually explicit behaviour from a 13 or 14-year-old it would pick up on that. You can apply parental controls on the internet in the same way as you can on digital TV channels, blocking unsuitable websites.”

Police say parents should be informal friends on Facebook and other social networks, so that they are in the loop of conversations that their kids are having.

Parents should also educate themselves about the social networks their kids are using – how they work, what functionality they offer and how often they are being used.

Social networks do not only mean Facebook – children can correspond with strangers on Bebo, YouTube, gaming networks, Twitter, MySpace and forums, as well as chat services like MSN Messenger, Skype, AOL Chat and Google Talk.

Parents: Please share this video with your children.  I have posted it before, but the clip’s importance and its powerful message will see me post it on occasion.

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