The consequences of bullying behaviour have played out in the saddest possible way. The passing of Amy Everett, a 14 year old girl from Katherine, again highlights an issue that continues to press upon modern society. In Australia, suicide is the major cause of death for children between the ages of 5 and 14. While there may be a number of factors contributing to this sad loss of young lives, bullying and harassment, has without doubt, become the number one contributor.

The online access people have can encourage bullying. While face-to-face bullying has been a traditional tactic of harassment, the coming of cyberspace communication has added an exponential element to the problem. Bullying, much of it sharp, vicious and aiming for maximum hurt, has become a 24/7 occupation. Keyboard bullies can get at anyone, anywhere and at any time.

Amy Everett’s passing is the most recent case of a phenomenon that is ending the life from far too many people, especially young people. And it is happening all too often.

The ‘Courier Mail’, in covering the Amy Everett story (January 11) intimated that online bullying can be taking place without parents having a real understanding of what might be happening. Clearly there is a need for children and young people to be protected from online savagery. The following sound advice was offered to parents and those responsible for children.

“ 1. Regularly talk with them (children) about technology and their online activity.
2. Put filters in place and set security levels to high restrictions.
3. Make sure their passwords are changed regularly and kept private even from friends.
4. Many children don’t want to talk about online bullying for fear they will have their social media access taken away. Assure them this won’t happen.” (Courier Mail April 11, 2018)

Many very young children have access to social media platforms and can be reached by unscrupulous persons. Michael Carr-Gregg an eminent child psychologist, believes that 60% to 70% of primary school aged children are on social media and this should be discouraged.

It is suggested that social media companies should not allow children under the age of 12 to use their platforms and this should be enforced.

Children, along with everyone else, can and should be encouraged to eliminate vicious and hurtful online bullying. Young people should be taught to bar access to their accounts by those seeking to harm them through vicious words and vile statements.



This column, published in the NT Suns in March 2017, focuses on the NT.  However, in my opinion, there is a NEED FORV THE APPOINTMENT OF A COUNSELLOR to the staff of every school.


With the frenetic pace of educational issues and priorities, we tend to overlook the fact that schools are about people. Students with aims, ambitions, positive and negative feelings, commit each day to their schools. This relationship begins when children commence preschool or attendance at early learning centres. It continues through primary and middle school years. Schools are centres of important educational, social and developmental opportunities.

Along the way, there are personal challenges and setbacks. Some are of a fairly minor nature, while others have a far greater and deeper impact upon students, staff and the school community. However, it seems the need for counselling support is on the increase. It is at such times that the human face of education is of critical importance. The most recent NT tragedy was the untimely deaths of two students from Darwin High School. Their passing is having an impact upon school students and staff that is being recognised through counselling and other support services. While the essence of education is about student academics and personal development, our department is there to support those in need during times of sorrow. Counsellors offer emotional and moral support. They never quite know when counselling support will be required, so readiness to offer assistance is important.

In a wider Territory context the Department of Education at central and regional level supports those in schools impacted by death, injury or mishap of students and staff. The need for this support may be within our city schools, and those in larger towns or smaller and more remote communities.

There are a number of circumstances within schools that can cause deep distress for students, staff and in some cases parents of school children. One of the most common is bullying in its various forms. Online bullying with harsh verbals and embarrassing photographs is the most insidious and least understood method of causing hurt. It is important that these circumstances come to light, with perpetrators being called to account and victims being given support.

The need for school based counselling is on the increase. Education departments may need to consider the appointment of support counsellors in schools on a one to one basis. Counselling needs are growing; support needs to be timely and immediate.


Race and Gender Awareness in Schools.

You look at and watch young children interesting and they are generally free of the qualification of gender, race, colour (and so on) bias. THE BIAS COMES FROM ADULTS. Those adults may be parents, relations and others these young humans see and hear.

The purity of innocence is ruined for these chilldren by ADULTS.



Child care is over the top in Australia. Children need to be brought up by their parents. It is altogether too much for people to give birth, them thrusting their children at agencies, including child care, early learning centres and schools to bring up.

Parents should do their job and be primary caregivers and developers of their children. There is far too much ‘passing the buck’ and abrogating parental responsibilities.

Neither should parents and community expect government to spend billions of dollars subsidising their child care costs. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, a small amount of child endowment or family benefit was available to help offset the costs of children – and that was it! Fast forewords to 2017 and paid childcare is available, even to parents who do not work, for at least 12 hours per week.

Too many childen get born, then ‘outsourced’ to agencies to bring them up. That is not good enough. Neither does it work as well for children as the nurture and care offered by parents.

Maybe, people needs to make a choice between having children or a career. You often cannot have both, other than in the context of doing a mediocre job at work and home. Too many children are parked with organisations from before school care, to school, to after school care. When picked up, they are taken home by tired parents who park them in front of TV or with an iPad, because they are not in the mood to engage with their children.

And sometimes some parents feel that socialisation has a higher priority than being with their children.

And how many parents when taking holidays, leave their children with relatives or friends so they can enjoy themselves without being encumbered by offspring.

Children can quickly come to perceive, accurately or otherwise, that they are unloved and unwanted. If that is the case, it become inordinately difficult to change this perception and concept in their thinking. That can be a factor that places their attitude to school and schooling behind the eight ball.


Published in NT Suns newspaper January 2017.


It is a sad thing that open environments, once a feature of child care and school precincts are being consigned to history. Fenceless, physically borderless boundaries have all but gone.

Schools started off with outer perimeters marked by knee or waist high fencing that was no more than railing stretched between vertical uprights. However, more and more have fences being upgraded to two metre plus high, impenetrable barriers. All are aimed at protecting schools from damage and vandalism.

A sad thing for schools is the need for this fortress like mentality. Students and staff members shouldn’t be confronted with teaching and learning environments surrounded by two metre high fences. They should not have to go through gates that open in the morning, are locked at night and require pass keys at other times. They should not have to walk around school precincts under the survelliance of CCTV cameras or sit in classrooms where security systems are turned on after hours in order to afford protection. They shouldn’t have to enter and exit classrooms through doors with double locking and deadbolt systems in place to secure against unlawful entry. Neither should they be made to feel like prisoners, looking out from classrooms through windows reinforced with security mesh.

Teachers and students leaving schools at the end of each day, wonder whether violation occasioned by unlawful entry will occur overnight, at weekends or during holiday times. Will walls be graffitied, windows smashed, doors forced, rooms trashed and property stolen? Worrying about the susceptibility of workplaces to violation is always on the back-burner of thinking.


An irony is the apparent reluctance of some school leaders to follow through on issues of wanton damage to premises and property. That may have to do with school leadership groups somehow feeling a misplaced ‘shame or blame’ for these happenings. The fact that schools are broken into is not their fault.

The issue needs to be aired in the public domain. Offenders should to be dealt with in other than a trivial fashion. They are fully aware of what they are doing and deserve to face realistic consequences.

Students and staff who are the victims of property crime need to know that offenders will be dealt with appropriately, not handled with kid gloves and let off lightly.

Schools used to be happy and open places of learning, not enclosed fortresses separated from their communities by security devices. Sadly, that era has been consigned to history and may never be restored.


Too many lives that could be lived in fulsomeness and belonging bto people wgho could make a difference in this world, are cut off in the middle of the day by gun weilding Americans.

Too many children, in the bloom of life, are among those who are wantonly snuffed out. Living souls reduced to corpses.

Ninety one American lives lost to grind every day, 33,215 each year. Each year the population equivalent of Palmerson, the NT’s satellite city placed in coffins.

Americans need educating about gun control.


Are bad,
In wrong hands,
They make people sad,
Trigger pulling is so wanton,
Expunging innocent life in an instant,
Shooting sadness, inexplicable grief into the hearts,
The souls and the fibre of sad families,
Who not for an instant can begin to understand,
Why the death net should embrace them in cold clutch,
The enternal struggle to understand what motivation drives killers in plunging,
Them and so many they know into the river of everlasting despair,
Is a phenomena that surely lacks logic and cannot be logically, humanistically understood,
Fie upon you people of the United States for your preoccupation with gun power.