Eva Davey appeared on Sunday Night after enduring months of bullying. Her father, Carl, has written the following call to action pleading for politicians to address the problem of bullying in Australian schools.
We are Eva’s mum and dad from the Sunday Night show on bullying. Because the show couldn’t capture everything in 45 minutes, we wanted to highlight the main reason we agreed to “go public”.
Apart from raising awareness of the horrific bullying that’s rife across our schools in Australia, there’s a huge issue that’s being overlooked. Tougher consequences are needed for bullies and their parents and they are needed now!
We can’t comment on the situation at the Melbourne school, but have nothing but praise for Eva’s school and everything they’ve tried to do to stop her being bullied. But the reality is they are just a “Shark Without Teeth,” working with ineffective policies and processes.
Schools can only enforce processes set out for them by the Department of Education and from our experiences, these policies do not work. Immediate Government intervention is needed to force a complete review and overhaul of the DoE policies to bring in much tougher measures to not only stop bullying in school, but also abusive and disruptive behaviour in the classroom.
Our thoughts on effective measures? Banning mobile phones from schools would be a good start and this can be done immediately. Children don’t need them… no exceptions. If there’s an emergency, parents can be contacted by school staff. Children are at school to learn, not film bullying or attack each other on social media.
If children are bullying other children, suspend them. But instead of just suspending them and giving them a week’s holiday, make them attend school every day, but away from the other pupils. Also… and this is key! Fine the parents and make them attend school with the child for the full duration of the suspension. Parents need to be held accountable, inconvenienced and forced to take responsibility. At the end of the suspension period, the parents submit a formal report to the Department of Education as proof they attended. Failure of the parent to attend results in serious consequences being imposed. Repeated bullying means expulsion of the child and criminal charges being brought on the parents. 3 strikes and you’re out!
Tougher consequences aren’t just needed in schools. They are needed in everyday society as well. The police have very little power to deal with child bullies and the measures the legal system use fall way short in effectively addressing the issue.
Everywhere we turned, we hit another road block. The system failed us every time. The system needs to change! If children commit these vicious acts of assault (physical, verbal and/or mental) then there has to be reciprocal punishment. At the moment, there’s nothing.
We are not education experts, government officials or lawyers. We are just a mum and dad wanting our daughter to be able to learn in a safe and positive environment and enjoy her school years without fear of being physically or mentally attacked. Up to now, this has been the total opposite for Eva. She’s had to walk into school every day not knowing what abuse she is going to have to face. For a parent, that’s gut-wrenching. For Eva, I honestly can’t imagine, but from what I’ve seen, extremely frightened, vulnerable and at her worst, suicidal.
Mr Turnbull… over to you and your team! Get your head out of the sand and do something for the Australian people you purport to serve. Take the issue of tackling bullies out of the “too hard basket” and introduce tough and effective measures to protect our children.
Change needs to occur… and it needs to occur now!
Carl and Leigh Davey