Saturday, October 23, 2010

Responsibilities blurred at Carenne for years: Rosenberg

Carenne Special School whistleblower, "Jake Rosenberg" has spoken out about teachers leaving aides unattended with students in direct defiance of their role statement, child protection rules and against the advice of their union.

Rosenberg reports that it is common practice at Carenne for teachers to leave the classroom for extended periods and expect for the aide to supervise students. Rosenberg also says that aides have been asked to use their own vehicles to transport groups of students to and from work placements. She claims that this practice has been supported by successive principals from Jock Roxborough through to Neil Moon.

When Rosenberg raised the issue with Mr Moon, she was told not to be a "whinger" and to just do her job.

Rosenberg claims that the worst culprit for leaving their aide unattended with students for extended periods is Anne Baskerville. "She leaves her aides all the time, she might get a call from Neil Moon to go to another class to settle a student down but most of the time she is outside speaking, cuddling and kissing [name removed]."

Rosenberg says she is concerned about what would happen if there was an incident in the class while Baskerville was off doing something else. "It's the class for the really disabled kids, the ones that need to be looked after more than the rest, she shouldn't be off frolicking with other students or being called to other rooms, it's wrong."

Rosenberg says that the problem is spread throughout the school. "Peter Richards, Michael Auld, Ros Luther, they all leave aides unattended with students. On work experience days aides and teachers take kids to work in their own cars."

Barracus told Carenne Gate that the practice of taking students to work placements by both teachers and aides needed to be re-evaluated.

"I have told Neil Moon that it is asking for another allegation to be made. There were allegations that Anna Blackburn and David Withyman were getting intimate to and from work and TAFE, what's to stop that happening again. Nothing. Of course, you know what Moon did? Blew me off!," said Barracus.

According to documents by the Public Service Association, School Learning Support Officers (formerly teacher's aides) are not to supervise students. They are also not to take them to and from work experience or other activities. Only teachers can supervise students. The PSA recommends that any SLSO who is pressured to do this should contact them.

What it shows is that once more, the executive of Carenne are incapable of following the department's child protection guidelines. It also shows the appalling leadership qualities of Mr Moon who will not listen to concerns from his staff.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bathurst West neglected student with suspected meningococal disease

Carenne Special School is not the only school under Peter Harvey's supervision which is engulfed in claims of incompetence, corruption and child neglect. A parent has reported to Carenne Gate about how they observed a student showing signs of meningococal disease being neglected by the school's first aid officer Marilyn Austen and acting principal Kerrie Lloyd.

The parent reports that they overheard a conversation where Mrs Austen and Mrs Lloyd refused to call an ambulance, despite the student being in pain, with a rash on his chest and fever. Both Mrs Lloyd and Mrs Austen left the student who was in significant distress alone in the schools sick bay and ignored him, claiming that he was acting up.

The parent claims that she heard another teacher call the ambulance when Austen and Lloyd refused to do so only to be castigated for it.

In another serious breach of department policy, when the ambulance did arrive, an administrative and support staff member who was visiting from another school went in the ambulance with the student to supervise him. According to departmental guidelines, only teachers can be responsible for the supervision of students.

Tests at the hospital, where the student was admitted for two to three days, discovered that the student had a virus which mimicked the potentially fatal disease.

It is frightening to think that staff of another of Peter Harvey's schools seriously neglected a student who presented with signs of a disease that can kill without medical attention in a matter of hours. As with what happens at Carenne, the incident was covered up at the order of senior department officers, fearful that legal action could be taken against them and the school for seriously breaching their duty of care.

In the Bathurst district, it would appear that the wellbeing of students is of little concern and is one of the last considerations of department staff.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Security of questionnaires compromised, Police accused of encouraging leaks

Carenne whistleblower "Karachi" has spoken to Carenne Gate about how the security of police questionnaires distributed last month has been compromised and how Mr Auld was encouraged to leak information to the blog. The whistleblower claims that some staff were told not to place security seals on their envelopes so that their responses could be checked by DET officials, while others were removed and placed in new envelopes with new seals supplied by another police officer.

The police questionnaire has been controversial since it was first distributed, with both the Teacher's Federation and the Public Service Association advising staff not to complete it.

Karachi claims that in addition to new envelopes and seals being used, the system used by the police to trace letters and questionnaires was known to select staff at the school. "Michael Auld told me that he was told by the Police how they could identify each questionnaire," said Karachi.

"When I asked him what the mechanisms were, he told me that when Neil Moon handed out the questionnaires he wrote down who was allocated which number. These numbers were also encoded on the covering letter of the questionnaire. Each letter belonged to a particular envelope. In the letter, a mark was placed underneath the letter corresponding with that envelope's number."
Karachi claims that the letter on this blog corresponded to envelope number 8, as the 't' in 'Bathurst', the 8th letter had been marked.

Karachi says they were seriously concerned that Mr Auld knew the security processes in place and says that Auld claimed to have been told by one of the investigating detectives how the system worked. "Michael told me that one of the detectives asked him to send questionnaires and letters marked in certain ways to the people running this blog so they could set those people up for leaking information and take the heat of Simone and Scott." Karachi claims that he took copies of some people's letters and questionnaires as they saw him in the release office with some of them on the computer screen, while Melinda Gavin was laughing over his shoulder.

This shows that the investigation must be suspended until a taskforce, composed of detectives from outside of Bathurst can be set up because at least one of the detectives running the investigation has no compromised it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Carenne Gate holds RDA to account

Following a series of articles on this blog about the Bathurst Riding for the Disabled Association horse riding and therapy farm programs being suspended because of the RDA committee failing to have proper public liability insurance. In June we exposed that Michael Auld, member of the both the RDA governance committee and the school RDA committee was planning on charging students to visit the therapy farm.

The school sent a letter at the beginning of the last term, telling parents that they would have to pay $30 for their child to attend the RDA therapy farm.

Parents were sent home a letter this week telling them that the therapy farm would be starting again very soon and that due to it not running last term, parents who had paid the full $30 would be refunded $15. Those who had not paid were asked to pay $15 for this term.

Students who take part in the RDA horse riding program will be able to access the therapy farm for free.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Strange staffing practices continue at Carenne

Despite coming under fire for employing friends and family over others, using nepotistic procedures when filling permanent positions and allowing a teacher who wasn't approved by the Department of Education and Training to teach for a number of weeks, senior staff at Carenne are still resorting to truly bizarre staffing practices.

It has been learned that on Tuesday the 21st of September, Lucy Thornton declared she was relieving for School Administration Officer Rhonda Griffiths and paid accordingly, despite relieving School Learning Support Officer Simone Russell who was working in the office in Ms Griffith's place. It appears that executive staff at Carenne neglected to consider what would of happened if Mrs Thornton had been injured or if a student was injured, because as far as anyone knew, Mrs Thornton was working in the office.

Even more bizarrely, Anne Baskerville's SLSO was away for the day and because Sue Sewell was working on another class that day, she arranged to have a 16 year-old female student from Laurie Healey's classroom assist her for the day. The school executive and in particular Laurie Healey allowed a disabled 16 year-old student to assist a teacher with looking after six high-support needs students.

During term 2, Anne Baskerville sucessfully had Neil Moon employ another aide for the class as she claimed the workload and supervision required in that room showed that it was necessary. For most of term 2, the class was supervised by three adults. Mr Moon terminated funding for this arrangement in term 3, and despite Ms Baskerville's claims that the room needs three adults, she allowed a 16 year-old student to work as an aide.

These strange and bizarre staffing practices show that under the school's current leadership there remain serious issues which the department has not attempted to address.

Bathurst West principal steals stroller donated to fire victims

Following a tragic house fire in Bathurst a few weeks ago where a young child lost their life, Bathurst West Public School ran an appeal for parents to donate items to help the family to get back on to their feet.

According to staff of the school, a stroller which was of high-quality and in excellent condition was donated to the family but was removed by principal Toni MacDonald who took the stroller home, presumably for her own friends and family. Mrs MacDonald's greed deprived a family who has just lost everything the stroller.

The incident highlights the truly malignant state of the school system in the Bathurst district and shows that while Carenne Special School may have some of the most serious issues in the district, other schools have problems as well which points to poor leadership by Peter Harvey and Carole McDiarmid.