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Mt Martha Primary School bans all contact between students

Posted by: Ellen Feely | 14 June, 2012 - 10:24 AM
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Mt Martha Primary School has extended a ban on contact sports to include all physical contact between students, without making parents aware beforehand.

Earlier today, the Rumour File was told that a Mornington Peninsula primary school had banned all contact between school hours, including 'tiggy', high fives and hugging.

LISTEN: 'Tom' speaks to the 3AW Breakfast Rumour File

Nicole, a parent at the school, told Justin Smith and Nick McCallum that parents had not been notified of the major change to school rules, and extended to all forms of contact, including 'high fives'.

LISTEN: Mt Martha Primary School parents Nicole speaks with 3AW Mornings

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think the school's action to ban all contact between students is appropriate?

The school's principal, Judy Beckworth, told Nick McCallum and Justin Smith the practice was adopted as a "no-contact games week", and was in response to a rise in student injuries.

"It was put to (the students) when they asked questions to clarify, that if it involves contact then it's best not to do it."

"I don't believe that's it's taking it too far, and that it's not actually an overreaction," Judy Beckworth said.

When asked why the parents had not been notified of the change in school policy, Principal Judy Beckworth said the action required a "short and strong stance" and would be mentioned in the upcoming school newsletter.

"It's a practice we've adopted to raise the awareness that it's unacceptable for playing roughly in the playground," Judy Beckworth said.

Judy Beckworth denied that high fives were banned at the school, and said she would be counselling her staff in relation to the ban alleged by parents.

The school’s principal said a spate in recent injuries included broken wrists, a broken collarbone and concussion.

"My understanding is that these are schoolyard accidents which happens in every suburban school around the world,” school parent Nicole said.

"It's simply a knee-jerk reaction to a minority number of incidents."

Nicole said despite the ban, Mt Martha Primary School had a fantastic school community, but the problem lay with "upper ranks".

"(The principal) seems to have lost a grip on the best way to run a school," Nicole said.

"We don't have any respect for her whatsoever as a result of these draconian measures that she's brought in."

Nicole said the Year 6 students at the school staged a 'sit-down protest', but were called into the school gymnasium by a staff member and berated for their lack of leadership.

Principal Judy Beckworth said the school’s Assistant Principal spoke to the students about the manner in which they expressed their opinions.

LISTEN: Mt Martha Primary School Principal Judy Beckworth speaks with 3AW Mornings:

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Blog comments Your Say

  • This nonsense effectively became universal school policy in America some forty years ago. Here , the excuse was financial liability, a consequence of lawyers gone wild, the judges whose electioneering they finance with their bribes, and simpleton jurors. The consequences are all of those wide bodies for which we've become justly famous all over the world. Do yourselves a favor, Aussies, use this cow for chum. Make sport of it, the Aussie way. Have a good laugh and encourage your kids to play with one another.

    jack sprat Thursday 30 August, 2012 - 2:07 AM
  • Rules in school are important and necessary, but this woman is going too far. I just listened to the interview on 3AW Mornings - she sounds more like a politician than a school principal. Whenever a difficult question was posed, she went into polly -rhetoric mode, not really answering the questions at all. Power has gone to her head. How dreadfully SAD it is when children are being taught not just to be conscientious but PARANOID as well.

    Christine King Monday 18 June, 2012 - 7:09 PM
  • The most ridiculous rule ever. It's not for safety, they do it for fear of litigation. So wrap them all in cotton wool and get the kids to all sit quietly, no touching, let them play with their ipods so they can end up bully someone online! Bring back the 50's!!, let kids play, fight, fall over, skin their knees, it's far healthier than cyber bullying!!

    margy Monday 18 June, 2012 - 12:54 PM
  • I have a child in grade 6 at MMPS, and my dealings with Judy Beckworth could only be described as difficult. I found her communication skills to be backward. Her open door policy is true, so long as you agree with her.
    It should be noted the significant drop in attendance when Balcombe Grammer opened, parents preferred to pay for their childs education rather than stay at MMPS. I will be pleased when my child finishes this year, but saddened that the Education department has seriously let down our community. The previous principle set a very high standard, one that JB has failed to live.
    I note one previous person state that JB has done some wonderful work in South Africa, why then is she so out of touch with mainstream communities throughout Australia, and why is she out of touch with her mainstream community of Mt Martha?

    Mark Monday 18 June, 2012 - 11:06 AM
  • Don't you hate when some people tell you that something is being done for safety reasons, when the real reason (hidden agenda), is being carried out to simply control individuals more? The answer should be yes, as the behaviour of the Mt Martha Primary School principal, appears to be an over-reaching power fix, with the faint echoes of George Orwell's - 1984 heard in the background.

    Scott Lynn Sunday 17 June, 2012 - 10:35 PM
  • This is ridiculous. I thought it was a joke at first and if I had a child at this school or any school that enforced this rubbish, I'd immediately withdraw them. I encourage parents in this situation to consider a protect at the very least.

    Liat Marmur Friday 15 June, 2012 - 7:28 PM

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