By standing united, teachers and support staff at a Catholic systemic school in Sydney achieved an important result that will improve the wellbeing of both staff and students.
For some months, the diverse learning team had been fearing for their safety due to a student with special needs.
The student’s unregulated and increasingly aggressive behaviour included numerous assaults against staff and students, all of which had been documented, yet staff had been unable to get extra resources or support and the principal was at an impasse in terms of a resolution.
The matter had also been referred to the education office without an outcome on several occasions.
A member raised the issue with an IEU organiser after a chapter meeting at the school. The organiser advised the chapter that to achieve resolute action, the matter should be raised as a work, health and safety issue.
The IEU recommended the notification be endorsed by the entire chapter, rather than the diverse learning team only.
The IEU chapter at the school acted decisively, citing Work Health and Safety legislation in a formal notification. They said they would refuse to carry out their work where there was an immediate and imminent risk to their health and safety.
The joint action of union members forced the administration’s hand, leading to a solution being found that was ultimately to the benefit of not just the staff, but also the student concerned and other students at the school.