by Tara Cassidy
FOUR students from Sarina State High School have been suspended for five days for allegedly 'insulting and degrading a teacher', during class.
One of the parents, Leon Saron, claims he received a call last Wednesday afternoon, to notify him that his Year 8 son had been involved in the incident.
He was told that the students were caught during class with photos of pigs on their iPad, making comments and jokes at the teacher's expense, likening her to the images.
Comments were then made by the students calling her "Miss Piggy" along with other "insulting" remarks.
All students were 'externally suspended' for five days and will return on Thursday for a re-entry review.
Upon hearing what had happened at the school, Mr Saron said he asked the principal in what way his son had been involved so he could implement an appropriate punishment at home.
He said he was frustrated to hear that his son had received an equal five day suspension for simply laughing at the joke made, rather than being an instigator in the incident.
"I just questioned which part he was involved in so I could correct him and punish him suitably, I thought it would be an easy answer," Mr Saron said.
"He said they were all involved and finally came out with that he's been suspended for laughing at the comment made by the other kids.
"I agreed of course he shouldn't have laughed, but surely he shouldn't receive a five-day suspension, the same punishment as the kids who had the photo and made the remark."
Mr Saron said during the conversation it was revealed two students had been involved in bringing the photos up and making comments and the other two had laughed at the jokes - all received the same punishment.
"I think what happened was wrong and should be addressed, but I don't think my son should have been suspended for that amount of time, maybe a detention but not that," he said.
Since the incident Mr Saron has organised a meeting with the school to take place on Tuesday, to try and resolve the issue.
When contacted by the Daily Mercury, Sarina State High School principal Daniel Johnson said the teacher involved had dealt with the incident "as teachers do" and since put it behind her.
Due to "privacy reasons" the Department of Education would not provide a comment on the specific incident but said the safety of both students and staff was their number one priority.
"Violent or abusive behaviour will not be tolerated in our schools," the spokesperson said.
"The Department of Education and Training, in partnership with parents, is committed to maintaining high standards of behaviour in Queensland state schools and the majority of Queensland students are well-behaved and engaged in learning every day.
"Schools employ a wide range of strategies to engage students in learning and effectively manage student behaviour, consequences for inappropriate behaviour are based on the individual circumstances of the incident, the complexities of those circumstances, and the student's attitude, intent and level of involvement in the incident."
According to the DET spokesperson, principals use a range of disciplinary consequences to address inappropriate behaviour and school disciplinary absences are "only used as a last resort when the behaviour is deemed so serious that a suspension is necessary."
"We support principals in taking disciplinary action where a student's behaviour is unacceptable and does not meet the school's Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students," the spokesperson said.
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