The Educator Weekend Wrap: UN may probe schools, teachers win pay rise & drug tests for students

by The Educator30 Jul 2016

In this week’s top story, the United Nations was asked to investigate dozens of incidents involving assault against children with a disability in Australian schools. The request was made by a group of disability organisations acting on behalf of 55 families, who sent the request to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities. They cited “widespread and grave” violations of students’ human rights, adding they had no other choice but to seek international intervention as Australian authorities had failed to act. More than a third of the recorded incidents were classed as torture.
In other news, Queensland Catholic school teachers won a major salary increase following 15 months of collective bargaining negotiations with Catholic employers. The state’s experienced Catholic teachers will now receive a salary of $100,000 from 2018 onwards, which is an increase from the current rate of $86,000. Other outcomes from the negotiations include a wage increase for support staff, measures to address increasing workloads and new classification levels for the most experienced and talented teachers. The state’s teachers union has been arguing that teachers in the Queensland Catholic sector were being underpaid compared to interstate colleagues.
Finally, an elite Brisbane college is considering random drug tests on its students to combat an “insidious” drug threat. The move comes one year after two students from St Joseph’s Nudgee College, located in northern Brisbane, were charged by police for supply and possession of cannabis. A further six students were suspended. In a statement published in the school’s newsletter, principal, Peter Fullagar, said that as part of the school’s strategic priorities, a Drug Response Support Program would be implemented in 2017. “We are still developing the program and as part of this program the College is considering the introduction of a random testing policy,” Fullagar wrote.