24 February 2009


Bullying teachers to be taught a lesson
 WORKCOVER has slapped improvement notices on a high school torn apart by bullying teachers and infighting among staff.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal psychologically damaged teachers have claimed tens of thousands of dollars in workers compensation over the past two years due to bullying.

Two notices ordered the Department of Education and Training to stop workplace bullying and improve teacher safety and welfare at Queanbeyan High School. Teachers said they had "grave concerns" for their safety at the school which has also been afflicted by serious student violence.

Teacher bullying is rife, with more than 90% stating in an online survey they had been targeted by their colleagues - ignored, frozen out or excluded from decision making.
Among teachers' claims is that they have been intimidated, threatened with retribution for speaking out against bullying and treated rudely and dismissively.

Documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph allege incidents of "yelling and screaming", broken relationships, lack of communication and inconsistency in applying discipline to students.

A Department of Education spokesman said the WorkCover notices were being taken seriously. Occupational health and safety officials had been sent to Queanbeyan High and measures to address the problems were being put in place.

The effects of bullying are felt years afterwards. 

Childcare worker Krystyna Aggett, 22, said yesterday she still suffered psychological fallout from bullying by a teacher in primary school.

Ms Aggett, of Croydon in Sydney's Inner West, said she had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as a child but was singled out for harsh treatment in school.

"My mother made various complaints to the Education Department and they were left unanswered. It is 12 years on and I am still affected by self-esteem and self-respect issues brought on the people who were supposed to help me," she said.

Ms Aggett said she was called names, sent to a kindergarten class, pulled by her ears, forced to face the wall and denied a place in the school choir.

The Daily Telegraph
has launched an anti-bullying campaign including a national competition to find the best video to accompany Kate Miller-Heidke's new song Caught in the Crowd.

Entries close on March 13. The prize is $2000 worth of Sony equipment and a gig by Ms Miller-Heidke at their school. Caught in the crowd: Join our anti-bullying campaign

Bully teachers taught a lesson
Still carries scars ... Krystyna Aggett.

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