BULLYING has reached crisis levels at a Cairns school with several parents removing their children and claiming their kids have grown suicidal.
A crisis meeting was held earlier this month between Cairns West State School principal Mike Hansen and about 40 parents and carers because the school’s P&C association has been in caretaker mode.
Parents have told the Cairns Post violent gangs have formed in the primary school with children as young as five being assaulted in the playground.
“We have kids talking about self-harm and suicide at the school because it’s not being addressed or dealt with properly,” one parent said. “It’s not even being acknowledged.”
Another parent said his son had suffered mental health issues as a result of bullying, while teachers did nothing.
“There was a serious incident in the school that the principal did nothing about,” he said. “He could have prevented it, but he didn’t put the school into lockdown, which allowed the (offender) to come to the school the next day and carry on the way he did.
“My son got caught up in it, he was affected and now he’s got to carry the scars his whole life. This is how serious this is.”
Parents claim as many as 100 students have been removed from the school and enrolled elsewhere since the start of the year after being bullied.
They have brought their concerns to the Department of Education and Training, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Education Minister Kate Jones and even the State Opposition.
The department, however, says any change in enrolment numbers at the school is a natural fluctuation.
It did not respond to a request to compare school enrolment figures during the past three years.
When asked whether the department was aware of concerns about bullying at the school, a spokesman said the school took a zero-tolerance approach to bullying.
“All schools strive to ensure they provide safe and supportive places to learn for everyone in the school community,” he said. “Violence, bullying and harassment are not tolerated in any form.”
Call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.