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GSSC teacher ‘too scared to go to work’ due to culture of violence

By Charmayne Allison

A Greater Shepparton Secondary College teacher is “too scared to go to work” because of a violent culture within school grounds.

But GSSC executive principal Genevieve Simson vehemently denies this exists, claiming the whistle-blower is “out of touch with reality”.

The teacher joins seven parents and six students who have spoken to The News about ongoing fights since four government schools were merged and split across three campuses at the start of this year.

About 3000 students will remain divided across the campuses until 2022, when the college's new state-of-the-art facility at the site of the old Shepparton High School is completed.

The teacher, who has asked to remain anonymous to protect their employment, said they needed to break their silence for the safety of students and staff.

“I’m scared for myself — but I’m also scared I can’t do anything to protect students,” the teacher said.

“I’ve talked to students who have shown me they are carrying knives to protect themselves.

“Meanwhile, teachers are crying out for support and advice.”

Echoing the concerns of many parents and students, the teacher believed some fights were related to racial differences.

“I see racism between students. Horrific racism. It just breaks my heart.

“Being in this school is like being in a zoo. It’s scary. It’s almost like you feel like prey.

“I hear abuse, swearing, racism, names, every day — it’s just constant.”

The teacher also claimed students’ education was suffering due to the reports of ongoing violence.

“The biggest thing about students and safety is that if somebody is scared, they can’t learn,” the teacher said.

“They need to be safe.

“But it's not just students, it's also teachers and leadership who are at risk.”

The teacher said while GSSC staff members were doing their best, they “didn’t have a voice at all” and were too scared to speak up.

However, Ms Simson said she was "very surprised" by such claims, and it was the first she had heard of such issues.

“If you have a problem, you need to raise it with the leadership so we can investigate and see what the problem is,” she said.

“Teachers are feeling they are very safe and are working together and feeling very confident with each other.

“So I don't think this person is in touch with reality.”

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