Boy ‘scared’ after teacher drags him across floor

 

A BRISBANE mum says her nine-year-old was left "mentally scarred" and frightened of going to school after a teacher dragged him across a classroom floor by his jumper.

Amanda Bowie told The Courier-Mail her son Michael, in Grade 4 at Oxley State School, was grabbed by the jumper and dragged across the floor of a classroom when he refused to move seats after being asked to by a teacher.

The Department of Education has found the evidence was capable of substantiating the allegation, but Ms Bowie has been left in the dark about what action, if any, was taken against the teacher. She was only told it had "been dealt with".

"I was told that due to privacy reasons they couldn't divulge any information," she said.

"How is that possible - this is my son and they won't even tell me what's going on?"

"All I've been told is that it has been dealt with, but not what that even means."

Oxley State School student Michael Williams was dragged across the classroom floor by a teacher. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner
Oxley State School student Michael Williams was dragged across the classroom floor by a teacher. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner

Ms Bowie said another student in the same class as her son alerted her to the incident, which occurred in Term 2 this year, and that her son was left shocked and distressed.

"He was scared, and he didn't want to go to school," she said.

"He wasn't hurt, but more horrified at what a schoolteacher had done to him."

A distressed Ms Bowie said she was also left shocked to be told by Queensland Police they would not investigate the incident.

Under Section 208 of the Queensland Criminal Code, it is lawful for a schoolteacher "to use, by way of correction, discipline, management or control, towards a child or pupil, under the person's care such force as is reasonable under the circumstances".

"I've spoken to other parents about that, and they are shocked to hear teachers are protected by that law," Ms Bowie said.

"The police didn't even take a formal statement.

"I said to the police, 'you guys are supposed to help us'."

Amanda Bowie was shocked police didn’t investigate the incident. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner
Amanda Bowie was shocked police didn’t investigate the incident. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner


Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said the current law recognised circumstances where teachers may be in a position where it is necessary to protect themselves or others from harm.

"There's got to be a balance, and generally we get it right," he said.

"If police do use their discretion to charge, then it is up to a court to decide whether the force used was reasonable."

In a statement, the Department of Education said all matters involving allegations of harm to students were taken extremely seriously.

"Parents and students can be confident that if an allegation of harm is reported in a state school, it will be dealt with as a matter of highest priority and in an appropriate and sensitive manner," the statement read.

"Where there is an allegation that an employee has not acted professionally, these allegations are investigated in line with departmental processes."

The department declined to comment further on the specific incident, citing privacy reasons.

Following the incident Ms Bowie insisted her son was moved into a different classroom.

"He still has to see the teacher, and he is mentally scarred by what happened," she said.

"If teachers need to stop kids harming themselves, or harming others, then that's fair enough.

"But he was sitting there and saying no, he didn't want to move - how is that reasonable to grab him and drag him?

"School is supposed to be a safe zone for kids."



UPDATE: Crews patrol as Fraser Island fire enters day 19

UPDATE: Crews patrol as Fraser Island fire enters day 19

QPWS rangers are currently managing the fire with QFES

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