Ongoing concerns that the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, with its intimate understanding of boarding school pressures, was left off the Queensland Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce, continued to be voiced strongly at the recent state conference in Winton.
These were originally raised by ICPA’s state council in the wake of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s announcement of the taskforce in February, saying at the time that ICPA’s omission from the 14-member taskforce was short-sighted and made no sense.
Charleville Branch of the Air representative, Deirdre Williams, offered the strongest possible support motions from various branches that ICPA Queensland continue to provide their voice to the taskforce.
“A lot of our children go away to school at the age of 12, and they all respond in different ways,” she said.
The motion’s explanation noted that if ICPA Queensland couldn’t be included on the taskforce, it must continue to have input into the findings by way of submissions, direct conversations and attendance at public forums.
Council spokeswoman, Tammie Irons, said they had lobbied strongly to be on the taskforce, to no avail, but said they had put ICPA’s point of view forward at every opportunity, plus a submission.
Another motion, from Richmond branch, thanked state council for its proactive approach in seeking inclusion in the taskforce.
In its explanation, it was noted that the 14-member anti-cyberbullying taskforce was formed in part as a response to the suicide of 14-year-old Amy “Dolly” Everett.
“There is representation on the taskforce across numerous education sectors within the Queensland community, however, Richmond branch believes the Premier has failed to include representation from the very group of people that Dolly’s dealth resonated the most with – the rural and isolated students and their families.
“The Richmond branch was very disappointed to be informed that the repeated requests from ICPA Qld to be included in the taskforce were rejected.
“ICPA members have a deep understanding of the many challenges geographically isolated boarding students face, as well as a unique insight into the small school environment.
“We have this understanding because we live that experience alongside our children.
“We believe that the experiences of the ICPA members would have been an invaluable contribution in guiding the taskforce to develop a framework to address bullying.”