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GRC Professional : GRC Summer 2013
18 GRC Professional • Summer 2013 COVER STORY of serious allergies and other health issues that need to be managed by school staff and volunteers, through to Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) and environmental concerns. Students are now more frequently equipped with computers and access to the internet, if not, mobile phones. Attention has been drawn to the responsibility of schools to manage bullying, privacy and other issues for both staff and students that are further complicated by the prevalence of this technology. Not to mention the various other standards and obligations schools are expected to comply with – healthy school canteens, sun safety, and sports management and on a particularly serious note, the prevention of sexual abuse of students. These risks are real, as is the potential for tragedy, should they not be handled appropriately. Cases such as that of 16-year-old Raymond Cho, a student at Ashfield Boys' High School with a nut allergy, who died in May, 2011 caused by going into anaphylactic shock after eating a biscuit containing walnuts baked by students in his food technology class, highlight the need for a clear policy, risk management controls and adequate training for staff. A teacher who gave him an epipen shot of adrenaline ineffectively put it in his thumb. A second shot wa s given later but he wasn't given CPR until paramedics arrived. His life support was turned off five days later. There have been other student deaths due to mishap in the class environment. One of the most notable was18-year-oldSarahWaughwhodiedin 2009 when she fell, after her horse bolted on the final day of her beginners' practical horse riding training at a TAFE Jillaroo course in Dubbo. It transpired the horse, one of several hired by TAFE from a contractor, was a racehorse that had last raced not long before Waugh's course started, but TAFE did not know this. Her death led to the suspension of four horse- related TAFE training u nits. In response to the coroner's recom mendations TAFE New South Wales introduced a higher level of qualification and requirements for staff doing equine training. In New Zealand, one its worst school disasters occured in April 2008 when seven students, aged between 14 and 16 and a teacher from Elim Christian College in South Auckland were killed when a flash flood swept their canyoning excursion down the steep Mangatepopo River in the Central North Island. The excursion organisers, The Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre paid $NZ480,000 in ﬁnes and reparation after admitting to two charges laid by New Zealand's Department of Labour that if failed to act upon advice of a heavy rain warning for the area issued the mor ning of the disa ster. Lastyearin a surveyof4800Australianprimary and high schools Australia's The Daily Telegraph found than more than 10 per cent had a Facebook page, on which students taunted each other and teachers with graphic and disturbing claims and lurid and macabre photos. The pervasiveness of social media, and the use of it by students for bullying, increases the complexity involved for schools attempting to manage it. "Give kids a laptop and put them online and you get the full implications of hooking kids into the internet so you have to manage the resource," said one teacher. Add to this the expectations of parents and the community that schools will manage this range of issues, as well as educate children, and you can understand why some schools are recognising that existing staff need support to address the growing complexity of the education environ ment. ACI has seen an increasing growth in membership of compliance and risk management staff members, employed specifically in this capacity in individual schools and For a long time workplace, risk and safety was thought of as painting yellow lines on things so you don't trip over.
GRC Spring 2012
GRC Autumn 2013