Emphasising respect in schools

Respect... the state has launched a new policy to foster respectful relationships between parents/carers and school staff.

A concerning rise in incidents of aggression towards school staff from parents and carers has sparked policies and resources to promote respectful behaviours in schools.

The state’s new ’Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy’ sets out guidelines on the expected standards of behaviour for parents, carers and other adults in the school community.

The policy aims to reduce the risk and incidence of work-related violence towards school staff, ensuring all education workers feel safe and supported at work.

It includes strategies and resources to help schools prevent and manage unacceptable behaviours from parents and carers.

Posters and communication materials are being provided to schools to communicate the new policy – and the expectations around adult behaviours.

Education Minister James Merlino said school leaders and staff had been incredible throughout the pandemic and deserved to be treated with respect.

“This important work is about keeping schools safe and supporting staff to make sure schools are places where everyone feels safe and respected – creating an environment where students can thrive,“ he said.

The policy and resources are linked to the state government’s recently passed Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) legislation, which strengthens protections for school staff against parent and carer aggression.

A School Community Safety Order scheme will be introduced to all schools in mid-2022, allowing school principals to issue safety orders in response to harmful, threatening, abusive or disruptive behaviour at work.

These new laws will also allow schools to prohibit parents and carers from engaging in threatening or abusive communication through social media and other channels.

To view the policy, visit education.vic.gov.au/Pages/Respectful-Behaviours-within-the-School-Community-Policy.aspx