Students at Queensland state schools have been charged with possessing weapons, including one case with a handgun.
Students at Queensland state schools have been charged with possessing weapons, including one case with a handgun. Contributed

Knives, guns, text books: Weapons of choice in school attacks

EVERYDAY school items are being used as weapons in attacks at Sunshine Coast schools.

Education Queensland figures showed there were 1096 reports of "physical misconduct with an object" in North Coast region schools last year, which was slightly down on the previous year's total of 1133.

There are about 219 schools in the North Coast region, of which about 45 are on the Sunshine Coast.

Whiteboard markers, text books and pencils fit under the broad definition of items used in violent attacks.

Statewide figures showed students had used knives and a handgun in school incidents which had all led to police charges in the past 15 months.

Attacks not involving an object have risen steadily in the past four years, up from 3543 in 2013 to 4852 last year.

State Shadow Education Minister Tracy Davis said schools should be a safe place to learn.

"Sadly, hundreds of students are turning Queensland state schools into danger zones by bringing weapons onto school grounds," Ms Davis said.

"We have seen jumps in suspensions involving weapons and other objects over the past few years.

"At a time when academic achievements in literacy and numeracy are slipping or flat-lining, it is imperative that our kids and teachers have a safe place to learn and grow.

"We need to ensure parents are engaged and working with our schools to tackle the growing scourge of weapons inside the school gates."

A Department of Education and Training spokesman said all students had a right to learn - and teachers a right to teach - in a safe and supportive school environment.

"We support principals in taking strong disciplinary action where a student's behaviour is unacceptable and disrupts the teaching and learning for others," the spokesman said.

He said every state school in Queensland had a Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students, which was developed in consultation with the school community.

"The majority of the approximately 533,000 state school students behave appropriately every day and meet school behaviour expectations.

"It is important to note that school disciplinary absence figures do not refer to numbers of students but number of incidences.

"One student can be responsible for multiple incidences."

The spokesman said the department was promoting positive whole-school approaches to managing student behaviour such as Positive Behaviour for Learning, a framework that developed systems to define, teach and support appropriate behaviour.

"Schools access a range of resources to support positive behaviour in schools, including guidance officers, mental health coaches, inclusion coaches and success coaches to assist students to meet positive behaviour expectations and engage in learning."

Physical misconduct - involving an object

North Coast

  • 2012: 913
  • 2013: 858
  • 2014: 910
  • 2015: 1133
  • 2016: 1096

Physical misconduct- not involving an object

North Coast

  • 2012: 3559
  • 2013: 3543
  • 2014: 3820
  • 2015: 4375
  • 2016: 4852

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