Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple school principals and departmental officers bully classroom teachers into ill health and out of work.

The Roebourne District High School story.

Roebourne is a former gold rush town with a greater population of about 1400.

It lies in the Pilbara region, 1500km north of Perth.

The streets of Roebourne are lined with brick and stone colonial buildings.

But alcohol, drugs and violence afflict the Roebourne and surrounding communities, whose population is more than half indigenous. 

80 per cent of the community are on welfare. 

Annual alcohol consumption in Roebourne Shire is 26.8 litres per person, three times the state average. 

Roebourne is said to be the town where children are more likely to be r-ped than almost anywhere else on earth.

Town of the damned : the Australian town with 'staggering' child s-x abuse rate, Candace Sutton, news.com.au, 17 September 2017

In 2012 a Roebourne teacher was punched in the head several times by a seventeen-year-old male student.

On Thursday 16 February 2012, at a Roebourne, WA school, a teacher asked a seventeen-year-old male student to leave the class for being disruptive.

The student threw a rubbish bin at the teacher.

Then he punched the teacher in the head several times, knocking him to the ground.

Then, as the student left the school, he punched the windscreen of another teacher's vehicle and smashed it.

WA student charged over teacher assault, AAP,  The Courier-Mail, 17 February 2012 

In 2017, 48.9 per cent of Roebourne District High School students are at school each day. The rest seem to be sleeping off the effects of drugs, late nights and abuse.

On a good day, one in two Roebourne District High School students turn up.

The 2016 attendance rate of 48.9 per cent is an improvement on previous years.

"I don't go (to school) on Mondays because there's no kids around, they're all home," says one Roebourne student. 

 

Some Roebourne parents play cards till late into the night.

Children and teenagers sit on roadside kerbs, waiting for the gambling games to finish.

On fortnightly welfare pay days, gambling soars and children are left to their own devices.

Unsupervised children roam the streets at night and house break-ins are viewed "as the rite-of-passage for many Roebourne youth".

(The Roebourne Report, a WA government report produced in 2010.) 

 

The Roebourne school playground is pockmarked with a dozen or more  "money holes" around a large tree.

Students take turns rolling coins into the holes.

Whoever gets their coins in best takes the lot.

A student gambler can walk away with $90 or more, enough to buy the "g-nja", or m-rijuana that so many local children smoke habitually, or narbi, the local term for m-thamphetamines.

 

One Roebourne student candidly admits she smokes c-nnabis most days and feels too tired to go to school.

One bag costs $50 and lasts a day. 

"The school used to let us come anyway if we were stoned, and they'd give us a feed, but now they send you home if you're stoned," the student says. 

 

Roebourne students know there is another way to pay for drugs : s-xual favours. 

36 men from Roebourne and nearby towns such as Karratha and Wickham have been charged with 300 child-s-x offences against 184 children from Roebourne and surrounding communities.

In a nine-month operation across areas including Roebourne and the neighbouring city of Karatha, police identified almost three times as many suspects as the number arrested.

The scale of the crisis uncovered was the worst the WA police had ever seen and the communities were in an "almost unrecoverable crisis", West Australian Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan claimed.

"It's intergenerational. Many of these perpetrators were victims themselves," said West Australian Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk.

 

Many Roebourne grandmothers are struggling to raise multiple grandchildren.

Roebourne local, Violet Sampson, says that alcohol abuse has turned the town's grandmothers into safe house operators.

Ms Sampson told news.com.au that she began looking after her grandchildren when their parents were out drinking.

"I have three kids here,"she said.

"When their parents split up and went off drinking, the kids came to me.

"When they need a good sleep, without overcrowding, and a feed, I take them.

"And they can go to school in the morning.

"It's what grandmothers do here in Roebourne, Karratha. Aboriginal families look after the kids."

'Money holes' in the dirt swallow up kids' future, Victoria Laurie, The Weekend Australian, P. 1 and 8, 16-17 September 2017

Town of the damned : the Australian town with 'staggering' child s-x abuse rate, Candace Sutton, news.com.au, 17 September 2017

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