The behaviour of previously disruptive students is improving in Queensland’s state schools, six months after principals were given more power to discipline students.
Premier Campbell Newman and Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek today saw first-hand the remarkable results being achieved at Loganlea State High School, south of Brisbane.
Under the school’s innovative Community Service Intervention program, students who misbehave are required to perform tasks to improve their school instead of being suspended.
“Teachers can’t teach and students can’t learn in disruptive environments and that is why we are determined to give our kids a strong sense of community and respect for others,” Mr Newman said.
“The wonderful work being done at Loganlea State High School shows what can be achieved if we empower our principals and school communities.
“This is about restoring respect for authority, but what that ultimately leads to is better educational outcomes for students and a brighter future for our kids.”
Under the State Government’s Strengthening Discipline in Queensland State Schools reforms, principals have been empowered to deal with disruptive behaviour quickly, effectively and with fewer regulatory burdens.
Mr Langbroek said students had assisted cleaning and grounds staff and had also worked with police and truancy officers to repair property damaged while truanting.
“Students have ‘given back’ to the community by working with an aged care facility and Meals on Wheels when their behaviour has demonstrated poor community spirit,” Mr Langbroek said.
“This has positive benefits for the whole community and Community Service Interventions are proving to be well regarded by all involved – school staff, parents, carers and the students themselves.”
Loganlea State High Principal Belinda Leavers said ‘restorative justice’ was improving behaviour and cited the example of two students who had emptied a fire extinguisher at the school’s farm, taking the farmhand away from their usual duties to clean up.
“The students were assigned some of the farmhand’s duties in their break, so they could learn how their negative actions had affected others,” she said.
“We choose interventions that are either aligned with the misdemeanour or we tailor an activity to target a particular negative behaviour by replacing it with a positive one.
“Students learn to own their behaviours – positive and negative – and recognise that the resulting consequences are theirs also.
“It’s not about ‘good luck’ or ‘bad luck’, it’s about good and bad choices.”