27th April 2021

Shocking revelations reported today (27th April 2021) in the Herald Sun about the perilous situation at Shepparton Secondary College, a Super School being developed to house 2700 students plus over 300 staff, pushing the behemoth towards 4000+.

Whoever would have thought that amalgamating four Secondary Colleges would create such socially dysfunctional problems? The decision would have to be based on the naivety of decision-makers.

The situation as reported is not an education problem, but a Law-and-Order problem created by those same naive bureaucrats. How the amalgamation would  lead to better academic outcomes is problematic?

As with other areas, the crime in greater Shepparton is predominantly or at least quantitatively associated with young people as victims or perpetrators. That is nothing new and is replicated across society but putting all of these problems in one spot has enormous risks, particularly for victims, who cannot escape from persecution by others.

How the ‘experts’ could not foresee this is extraordinary.

Unbelievably, the naive bureaucrats failed to see the obvious outcome of this strategy, but they would have you fear not; because the problems are to do with the separate campuses and when the Super School is completed, the problems will somehow go away because the problems spread over four schools will now be in one place.

The Building is the solution, unbelievable. If that fails what will they blame next?

Education Department Schools and Regional Services Deputy Secretary David Howe was quoted when asked what the school would do if students were “attacked” at the new super school, said, “the size of the school would ensure comprehensive support services were available”. (The building again?)

He was also quoted as saying, “We don’t expect there to be security on-site at the new school”. (Why not?)

The theme of all the comments as reported is focused on what they may, could or perhaps should do to deal with an incident, including calling the Police.

They even boast comprehensive support services are available at the new site.

After a child has been terrorised and all these wonderful resources are applied, a victim’s parents; in fact, society may ask a pertinent question like,

“What was done to prevent this happening to my child”.

That very same question might be subsequently asked of the Education Department in the Supreme Court where parents seek redress.

Depending on the circumstances, the chance of the ‘Comprehensive support services’ giving a child back their life is extremely problematic.

With this ‘After the horse has bolted’ approach – how do parents pick up the pieces and explain that to a young victim. Equally, how do the bureaucrats explain to Teachers who succumb to PTSD from working continually in an unsafe environment and have their lives ruined that they were placed in that position where the risks should have reasonably be foreseen. An ‘eyes wide shut’, scenario.

This could also create awkward questions for the Education Department in the Supreme Court, where redress for the loss of a career is sought by affected staff.

The new school might be bright and shiny on the outside, a picture of advancement in Education, but will actually harbour a toxic culture of bullying and violence- a new building it might be, but it accommodates the same pupils with the same dispositions as before, just doing their thing in a nicer environment.

It is interesting that just up the road from Shepparton is the Township of Numurka with a population of 4000+. Interesting because Numurka has a Police Station and multiple Police in and part of the community focused on maintaining Law and Order. Something the 4000+ at the secondary college do not have.

Among the Student population at this super college, it would not be difficult to claim that a fair percentage of the perpetrators for crime and anti-social behaviour, not only inside but outside the college in the broader community, are students and ex-students.

With the philosophical strategy for Policing in Victoria, which has seen a substantial overhaul by Chief Commissioner Patton, the need for embedded Police in these large monolithic centres of learning for academic and criminal excellence must be given serious consideration to address a problem, not caused by the Police, but which the Police will be require to deal.

This concept of Super schools has some similarities to the Drug injecting room principle that acts like a ‘honey pot’ for dealers as a convenient concentration of their market in one place that suits their marketing model.

That will occur at the Super college, if not already. It was reported that some eternal perpetrator wearing a school uniform to mix with the students for fights. It is not a big step away from accessing a broad market for dealers amongst the school population as they move about undetected.

What better marketing principle to expand your market than to capture kids in an environment where peer pressure is inescapable, a captive market if you like.

“Go on, give it a go, it’s good gear, it won’t hurt you”.

Time for the Education Department to reconsider how they will deal with all the problems that are certain to arise.