A recent report has detailed incidents relating to violence, students welfare, schoolyard safety and security at NSW public schools.
The documents published by the Department of Education revealed the number of incidents involving violence, drugs and student welfare, that occurred during each term at South Coast schools during the 2017 school year.
All of the incidents related to students, and some involved teachers and other staff members. In some cases, paramedics and police were called to schoolyards for assistance.
During the 2017 school year, there were 56 incidents reported across the South Coast principals network, relating to either drugs, misuse of technology, violence, weapons or student welfare.
The majority of incidents in 2017 related to violence, with 28 separate issues recorded.
Shoalhaven police were called to a local school on August 17, 2017 after a student attempted to assault one of their peers. According to the report, the school went into lockdown while the student remained in the playground.
The student attempted “several times to enter the building” but was unsuccessful. Local police were contacted after the student began throwing rocks at the school windows.
Another incident involving violence took place at a South Coast school on November 14, 2017.
The report states that a student began screaming offensive language just as the bell was going at the end of lunch.
The deputy principal took the student to the office and explained there would be consequences for their behaviour. The student then ran to a classroom and told their peers the deputy principal had been “verbally abusive”.
In response to this, the school principal approached the class and stood between the student and the classroom entry. The student then kicked the principal.
The principal proceeded to escort the student to the office, with the help of the assistant principal. The student made threats to the assistant principal and continued with the offensive language.
When the principal released the student, they again became aggressive and began to punch and kick. The student’s carer was called and attended the school but was unable to calm them down.
As parts of the documents have been concealed, it is understood the student fled the school and later held a knife up to the assistant principal as they were walking past.
Over the 2017 school year, there were seven incidents reported that involved drugs.
On August 7, 2017, an ambulance was called to one of the region’s schools after a student admitted to taking an undisclosed substance before class.
According to the incident report, staff provided first aid and monitored the student until paramedics arrived.
Police attended a school in the region on August 17, 2017, after a student was found to have an undisclosed drug in their school bag. The substance was found after the student consented to a bag search by a teacher. Local police attended and the school took disciplinary action.
There were several student welfare issues also reported in the document, including a child approach.
While two students were waiting to be picked up from school on September 4, 2017, an unknown person approached them and touched them.
The victims reported the incident to their parents when they were collected from school. The victims both stated that they got uncomfortable when they were touched.
The assistant principal contacted local police, who later attended the school.
The Department of Education said it had made the incident reports accessible to the public to improve transparency.
“The Department is committed to the welfare of students and staff in NSW public schools,” it said.
“As such, references have been removed which could expose a person to risk of harm.”
The Department said while schools are among the safest places in the community, from time to time, incidents so affect staff and students.
“Following such an incident, the principal notifies the Department’s Incident Report and Support Hotline so support and advice can be provided to assist the school with the management of the incident.
“If the principal believes the incident may involve a criminal offence they are required to also notify the NSW Police Force.”