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This Statement sets out Parents Victoria's concerns about the Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) Bill 2021, introduced into the Victorian Parliament on 4 May, The proposed legislation would give school Principals the power to ban parents from school grounds if their behaviour is regarded as “harmful, threatening or abusive”. See the announcement of the Bill from Education Minister James Merlino. 

We fully understand and appreciate concerns for the safety of all school staff. Threats of violence are unacceptable in schools, any time, anywhere, from anyone. 

However we have many questions and concerns about this proposed legislation, for example:

  • How is it determined what is “harmful, threatening or abusive” and what is not?
  • How will the relationships be set right once the order has expired?
  • Who will assist vulnerable families to have the difficult conversations with schools?
  • Why legislation specifically for schools? Other organisations, agencies and departments have to work with current laws to deal with conflict situations, e.g. trespass orders and intervention orders. If they are not working, then that's what needs to be strengthened for the protection of everyone.

We note that ‘Building Pride and Confidence in our School Communities’ is a target focus of the Education State. These punitive steps to provide powers via this Bill, are counter-productive, divisive and destructive to community cohesion.


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