A SCHOOL near Goulburn is refusing to take back two 16-year-old boys who are alleged to have plotted a US-style classroom massacre over the Internet.
The Department of Education last week issued a directiveto Crookwell High School, northwest of Goulburn, to allow the two Year 11 boys to return tomorrow.
But the demand has triggered a brawl between departmental officers and teachers, who say the two boys pose a danger to both themselves and other students.
Teachers meanwhile held an urgent meeting last week during which they voted to take industrial action if the department refused to reverse its decision.
Crookwell High School, situated in the southern tablelands, has just 292 students.
The two boys were removed from the school by police last month after concerns they were plotting to kill classmates.
The boys, both aged 16, had allegedly discussed plans on an Internet chat site to shoot fellow students and school staff in a Columbine-style massacre.
School staff were alerted to the plans by another student, whose name was on an alleged hitlist drawn up by the boys.
Both of the boys were taken to Goulburn Base Hospital for a psychiatric assessment.
It is understood that the department received the results of the assessments on Friday. Police investigating the incident have not charged either of the boys.
One of the boys claimed his friend had been upset after he was dropped by his girlfriend.
A teacher from the school stated that students, parents and teachers remain concerned about their safety. It is understood that one of the boys had a history of violent behaviour, for which he had been suspended previously.
Staff had also been in discussions with the department over the boy's future at the school prior to the alleged massacre plot.
The teacher said the department had failed to follow proper procedures to deal with incidents.
This had included instigating an automatic 20-day suspension.
"We met on Wednesday, where we basically agreed to take industrial action if the students in question were re-admitted to our school, he said.
"We've had visits from parents, some of whom have serious concerns about the safety of their children (because of the plot).
"These two boys should not be re-admitted to the school."
NSW Teachers Federation senior vice-president Bob Pritchard said there were several education options available to the students.
These included enrolling them in distance education or having them attend a TAFE college.
"The department is more intent on pushing the students back into the school than addressing the concerns of staff," Mr Pritchard said.
"The teachers remain to be convinced that the department is taking the safety of the school's students seriously. One would hope that commonsense will prevail."
Mr Pritchard said teachers would meet again this week to discuss what measures would be taken if the boys are returned.
posted by Vest @ 6/03/2007 06:11:00 PM 0 comments links to this post
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