SCHOOL ASSAULTS: Father of bashed girl speaks out
THE father of a 12-year-old girl who was brutally bashed outside an Andergrove school said Year 7 had been the most dangerous grade of school for his daughter.
But he was surprised to learn it had been the most dangerous grade for all Queensland students.
Education Queensland figures have revealed 5230 incidents of "physical misconduct" involved Year 7 students in 2019, making it the most violent grade.
In September, the dad's Year 7 daughter was assaulted by a 16-year-old girl in a vicious attack that took place outside of Pioneer State High School just minutes after school was dismissed.
The onslaught was filmed by witnesses and distributed throughout social media groups, outraging many in the Mackay community.
"I'm a bit surprised by this because, where I'm from, Year 7s and 6s are separated from primary and high school-aged students," the Beaconsfield father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said.
He said he believed if the state offered middle schooling, it would contribute to a decrease in physical misconduct involving this age group.
"If you separate Year 6 and 7 students into smaller schools where they can concentrate on developing the habits they need to have at high school, it would also reduce the pressure on primary schools, which already seem to be highly populated. Most importantly there wouldn't be a huge gap between the youngest and the oldest students."
The father of the bashing victim believed there was a culture of hazing in state high schools that needed to be addressed and that Year 7 students deserved a chance to build the resilience required to navigate the social hierarchy in high school.
The Education Queensland data also exposed a shocking 31,667 suspensions took place this past year for physical misconduct, which was up more than 3000 from the previous year and demonstrated a 50 per cent increase from just five years before in 2014. The figures did not included incidents in private schools.
This information did not shock the Beaconsfield father who now has one child enrolled in a state high school and one, the bashing victim, enrolled in a private school.
"While my daughter is now thriving at her private school, my son - who remains in the state high school - went from being an individual to a young man who is quietly blending into the background," he said.
"I've come to find out private schools have a completely different foundation from state schools. While private schools are always going to be a business, there is a huge emphasis on values.
"They're teaching children how to take responsibility for every aspect of their life - that there is accountability for your actions."
The father said he believed the state school his daughter had previously attended was reluctant to exclude students who were victims of poor circumstance but unfortunately it was at the detriment of other students, such as his daughter, who were trying to do their best.
"There has been no attempt to change the culture of the school - they're just trying to make sure the violence does not take place on their time so it's not on their hands."
In September, the Beaconsfield father started an online petition for stronger punishment against high school bullies.
The petition quickly garnered support jumping to 600 signatures within the first month, it has now reached more than 1300 signatures.
To sign the petition visit: http://chng.it/6gch7zQT