The Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has used the latest sitting week of State Parliament to echo the concerns of the Greater Shepparton community surrounding the ongoing violence at the Greater Shepparton Secondary College, calling on Education Minister James Merlino to make the school a safe environment for every student.
Speaking during the adjournment debate, Ms Lovell also called on the Andrews Labor Government to make available an additional secondary school option to provide choice in public education for families in Greater Shepparton.
After closing all four Greater Shepparton public secondary schools at the end of the 2019, the Andrews Labor Government announced a transition plan during the construction of the planned single-campus school that mixed students from the four schools and distributed them across three campuses.
In her contribution, Ms Lovell said the transition plan disrupting students of all four schools had proved to be an unmitigated disaster with violent brawls a constant feature at all three campuses of the College.
In the latest incidents last week, the Wanganui and McGuire campuses of the College were both sites of massive all in brawls, with fights occurring every day. This culminated with a terrifying brawl at the Wanganui campus on Friday, resulting in multiple police units and paramedics attending and one student taken to hospital with serious injuries. The school was forced to hire private security guards at each campus, but this failed to stop the violence last week.
Ms Lovell was also critical of Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed, a driving force behind the closure of the four schools, for her constant refusal to meet with Greater Shepparton parents to discuss their concerns about the College and the safety of students.
Comments attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell:
“Every child deserves to be provided a safe environment in which to learn and James Merlino and Suzanna Sheed have failed to provide this with their disastrous one-school model and subsequent transition plan.
“Parents are desperate to get their children out of this school but there is no other option and Mr Merlino needs to intervene immediately and ensure Greater Shepparton Secondary College is a safe environment for all students.
“It is time the Andrews Labor Government actually listened to the Greater Shepparton community and provided another secondary school option for our children.”
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