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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Minister for Education and Training
    The Honourable Geoff Wilson

    Expert appointed to tackle bullying in Queensland schools


    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Minister for Education and Training
    The Honourable Geoff Wilson

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Expert appointed to tackle bullying in Queensland schools

    The Queensland Government has appointed high profile psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg as the State’s anti-bullying expert.

    Premier Anna Bligh and Education Minister Geoff Wilson announced Dr Carr-Gregg had been engaged to provide on-going, practical and effective advice on tackling the challenging social issue.

    “Our Government is determined to stand up to bullies. We are determined that our schools will be places where our children can reach their full potential in a safe environment,” said the Premier.

    “This appointment is the next step in the fight against bullying and demonstrates we are serious about making schools even safer, more tolerant places for students.

    “Dr Carr-Gregg is a well respected expert who will provide the government with on-going advice on future policy directions and practical steps schools can take to address bullying.

    “He’ll also be involved in conducting workshops with principals and creating other resources for schools.

    “The response from participants following Dr Carr-Gregg’s recent presentations at 30 Action Against Bullying seminars across Queensland was evidence his personal and practical approach is highly valued.

    “His role will put the government within reach of a qualified expert that parents respect and trust.”

    Ms Bligh said the announcement was made on the back of recommendations from the Queensland Schools Alliance Against Violence (QSAAV) report which was released today.

    “We established the QSAAV taskforce in February this year to bring together stakeholders from the Catholic, Independent and State schooling sectors to find new ways to put a stop to bullying and violence in our schools,” she said.

    “With the release of its report and recommendations, we have a clear blueprint for how we move forward and continue to make progress on the issue of bullying.

    “I would like to thank Professor Ian O’Connor, Vice Chancellor of Griffith University for his leadership of the Alliance.

    “The recommendations were developed through careful consideration and each of the school sectors will now investigate the best ways to implement them.”

    The recommendations are to:

    • Urge all Queensland schools to adopt a comprehensive cyber safety strategy
    • Promote the new QSAAV resources for staff, students and schools
    • Commission an external review within 18 months using an independent bullying expert to check on the progress of implementing QSAAV report and recommendations
    • Engage an anti-bullying expert
    • Develop a promotional campaign to promote bullying awareness
    • Meet annually with three education sectors to continue anti-bullying work
    • Develop a way to communicate with students about the issues of bullying and violence
    • Continue to raise the national profile of anti-bullying efforts through national meetings with education ministers.

    Premier Bligh said cyber bullying was a particularly challenging issue.

    “This form of harassment can take place at anytime and away from the school yard, usually online or on mobile phones.

    “Simply banning mobile phones or facebook for students is not realistic. The world has moved on and our children and indeed some of their parents regard these things as essential.”

    Mr Wilson said schools would be encouraged to develop and implement a comprehensive cyber safety strategy as a direct outcome of the report.

    “Cyber bullying is a particularly challenging issue because it can take place anytime, anywhere,” he said.

    “In response to Recommendation 1, we’re considering what measures we need to implement to help schools develop cultures of respect, as well as increase cyber safety skills.

    “Schools could also be urged to establish cyber safety teams which would work within the school to develop cyber safety security systems, policies and Acceptable Use Agreements.”

    Dr Carr-Gregg said he was happy to come on board to provide on-going frank advice.

    “I intend to work constructively with the Queensland Government and provide suggestions where there is the need for more action,” he said.

    “But I will say that Queensland is leading Australia in attempting to address the issue of bullying at school.

    “No other state or territory has succeeded in bringing together the State, Independent and Catholic school systems and not only achieved a consensus in terms of policies and practices, but also in providing them with the most up-to-date skills, knowledge and strategies to address the growing problem of bullying and cyber bullying.

    “No country has ever succeeded in stamping out bullying, but the Queensland Government is endeavouring to ensure that everything that can be done, is being done.”

    David Robertson, Executive Director of Independent Schools Queensland, said independent schools recognise the importance of addressing bullying and violence.

    “Our schools will take this opportunity to ensure their policies and procedures are up to date and effective,” Mr Robertson said.

    “QSAAV has been an excellent initiative and has provided focus on critical issues around student safety and wellbeing, and all independent schools will continue to work collaboratively across sectors on these important issues.”

    Mike Byrne, Executive Director of Queensland Catholic Education Commission, praised the work of the Alliance.

    “QSAAV has highlighted what best practice is and how to implement effective strategies in our schools,” Mr Byrne said.

    “There is no one solution to tackle these issues so it is imperative that as a community we work together to eliminate bullying and violence.”

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