Distraught mother slams school for “excessive” suspensions
A DISTRAUGHT mother says her daughter's needs were ignored by a Townsville school whose disciplinary solutions were repeated and "excessive" suspensions, leaving her without proper school grades.
Tessa Paine's seven-year-old daughter was suspended a total of 47 days between July and November this year because of what her school, Heatley Primary School, labelled as misbehaviour.
Despite repeated attempts by the Townsville Bulletin to seek comment from the Department of Education about Ms Paine's child, it did not respond.
Ms Paine admitted her daughter had behaviour issues, which she has spent "a lot" of money on getting diagnosed, but says the school's kneejerk response to discipline was a quick suspension and did more harm than good.
This had resulted in her daughter not being graded on any subject except music, missing out on weeks of learning, and hindered her chances at any other school because of the tarnished record.
"Suspension isn't helping … it should be used as a last resort, but it's always first," Ms Paine said.
"It's obviously not registering with her, she knows she's doing the wrong thing, knows that she's naughty, but there's never been any other option. She's seven.
"I'm just so disappointed. We're not parents who didn't care, not parents that didn't work with the school.
"I don't want another child to struggle because of the lack of support."
Ms Paine said her daughter loved school and was eager to get back and learn when her latest suspension was up in November, but it was decided that she stay home until the next school year.
Ms Paine said she did everything the school asked and more for her daughter, including signing off on in-school guidance counsellor appointments, but it never happened.
She said she eventually hired a private psychologist for her daughter.
"When all else failed and the suspensions continued I asked a private psychologist to come and do an observation of her in class," she said.
"The school said no.
"As a parent, I felt the lack of support is absolutely disgusting.
"As parents, when we were full-time working, I'd have to leave work in tears (when the school called). I didn't have a lot of support and my mum was across the border in Victoria.
"These kids don't have a voice and they should do; if they sat with her and asked if they can help her (it would help).
"I want to be a voice for other parents who are struggling, or don't know what to do."
The Department of Education was contacted for comment on Wednesday but by deadline had not responded to any of the Bulletin's questions about its suspension policy, how the school supported parents or whether it stood by the disciplinary decisions made towards Ms Paine's daughter.
Originally published as Distraught mother slams school for daughter's "excessive" suspensions