Parent Rights – Comments

Sparked by the recent case of sexual abuse at an Adelaide primary school which was kept from the community, the media has been dominated by one story for the past two weeks.

Calls are now being made by all sectors for changes to laws requiring parents to be notified when their children may have been at risk.

This story has shocked and outraged parents across the state and we would like to hear your thoughts.

Please comment below.

*We may not be able to publish all comments and we may edit some comments to ensure their suitability for publishing.


  1. Parents have no rights. That is unless their story gets in the paper. Ms Portolesi, you knew about this all year. I’m ashamed to share my name with you and I am ashamed to admit I voted for you at the last election. That is a mistake I won’t make again.

    Comment by Gracie — November 14, 2012 @ 7:39 am

  2. Jay Weatherill owes this schools governing council an apology. He has blamed everyone for this disgrace. Those poor children (and you can be sure there are more) suffering in silence for two years because this shameful department was more concerned with image than caring for our children. Jay you are worse than media mike.

    Comment by Sarah M — November 14, 2012 @ 8:29 am

  3. Where’s our education minister in all this? Hiding behind the premier. Disgraceful!

    Comment by David — November 14, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  4. I know parents at this school. They weren’t misinformed as our premier wants us to believe. The governing council was threatened and intimidated into a coverup. Shameful.

    Comment by Bek — November 14, 2012 @ 10:38 am

  5. I am disgusted and appalled. I cannot believe the blame is just getting passed on, the way this has been handled is a JOKE. We shouldn’t have to fear for the safety of our children when in “care”. Step up or step down Ms Portolesi!

    Comment by Nicole — November 14, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

  6. A ‘bungle’? Weatherill how dare you try to trivialise what happened.

    Comment by Mathew Bryan — November 14, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

  7. I have 3 children and I fear for them every day now. I don’t know what I am supposed to do but I don’t trust my public school anymore. Someone needs to step in and do something to protect our children and it isn’t going to be weatherill!

    Comment by Kaz — November 14, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  8. Anyone who has been on a governing council in the last 10 years won’t be shocked at the tactics of this government. To them parents are nothing more than an annoyance. The only thing the education department resents more are our kids. Watch out weatherill. I’m in your electorate. You could go the way of Howard and not just lose government but lose your own seat.

    Comment by Larry — November 14, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  9. Mr Weatherill you say that it is impossible for your office to double check everything? How about just double checking on the rape of children? Is that too much to ask?

    Comment by Jessie — November 14, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  10. What kind of government do we have when the rape of a child doesn’t set off alarms?

    Comment by Kal — November 15, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  11. DisGRACEful. Jay be a leader and put the entire department under review. This is the tip of the iceberg.

    Comment by Anna — November 15, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  12. Watch and see nothing come out of the governments inquiry! If this happened anywhere else the decs people would be suspended and people would be charged and sacked. All we’ll get is ‘recommendations’.

    Comment by Helen C — November 16, 2012 @ 8:11 am

  13. If jay was a real leader he’d never have put a lightweight like grace in charge. Time for her to run along and let a grown up take charge.

    Comment by Terry — November 16, 2012 @ 8:14 am

  14. Kids safety and well-being should always come first! There is no justification to ‘rob’ exposed kids from counseling and support in order to protect a pedophile!

    Comment by Ana — November 16, 2012 @ 8:20 am

  15. As a parent of young children, I am absolutely appalled at recent events. It’s frightening to discover I have no right of information where there is a risk to my child. The government should be ashamed of themselves – stop protecting each other, and start protecting our kids!

    Comment by Stephen — November 16, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  16. With what has evolved over the past couple of weeks show there is an endemic problem within DECS and how they are letting the children and parents down. I am aware of a few unacceptable incidences happening at our school are year or two ago, parents are never properly informed, the worst thing is how these issues are investigated and managed by the system. No one ever loses their job, they just move them on.

    Comment by Toni — November 16, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  17. We all need to work together to save this world. And it starts by saving our kids. If WE parents, pay your salaries government – education employees, then DO YOUR JOB and take care of those that are under your responsibility. One day there will be justice and those stealing from us (by not doing their jobs) will end up in jail, all together with the pedophiles.
    By the way, education employee, have you ever wondered what would you do if your own kid was abused?? I bet you would use all the power at your hand to make justice, uh?

    Comment by Sofia — November 16, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  18. As it stands this appears to be another example of politics getting in the way of good governance and government. The then Minister, now Premier, and the current Minister shouldn’t be ducking for cover they should be standing up for the children and families. We elected them to educate and care for our children. These are awful events made worse by the government’s sad response. I sincerely hope that the inquiry gets to the root of the problem and prevents it from happening again.

    Comment by Tim — November 16, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  19. I cannot believe this is even a debate or discussion point. How can anyone anywhere anyhow dare to keep this type of information from parents or the public in general? We as parents, adults and a community are meant to protect kids, at any cost, not put them in peril.

    Comment by Nnylf — November 16, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  20. If someone would have had the guts to speak up about this instead of concern for threat of action against them the matter would not have escalated. Teachers have a duty of care to all students.

    Comment by Bob Kesby — November 16, 2012 @ 10:27 am

  21. As a previous long term member of two public primary schools governing councils I can only imagine the horror the governing council of the school implicated in this horrific event must have felt – only to be worsened by the government response that ‘its the governing councils responsiblity’. I reeled when I heard these comments. It is in fact very true, the governeing council is responsible for overseeing the OSHC program. However, in reality, the governing council members of which the majority are parents and teachers, are advised or seek advice from the school administrators – namely the school principals. Parents do this because they consider them to be the specialists in their area and for teachers – its their boss. For the Education Minister to say ‘its a governing council responsilbity’ is a cop out. Any parent on a public school governing council knows decisions can be influenced by school administrators. Just look at the school amalgamations debarcle.

    Comment by Michelle — November 16, 2012 @ 10:30 am

  22. I’m concerned about how this matter has been handled. These people are supposed to be making decisions in the best interests of our children and their education. This is quite clearly not the case. After being reassured by the Minister of Education that the schools amalgamating was the best decision that needed to be made and that she was satisfied with the outcome, I’m wondering if she is satisfied with the decisions that were made around this issue. Is this effective management? What other long term effects are going to be caused by bad management?

    Comment by Tracey — November 16, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  23. We as parents and community members do our best to protect our kids at any cost. Mr Weatherill protects himself and his budget at any cost. I’ve experienced the bullying first hand and was “warned off” by the Principal of my child’s school at the insistence of Mr Weatherill.

    Comment by J White — November 16, 2012 @ 11:27 am

  24. Whatever attempts were made to cover up and or silence parents and governing council members in this current affair are disgraceful. All parents should have been advised by the principle that an incident had occured. At least parents would have been fully informed and could have made appropriate choices for their children and ensure that they were feeling safe. All Schools need to ensure that there are better lines of communication between the school and parents, because it is ALL about the children. They are the future.

    Comment by Tanya Lyons — November 16, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  25. This government treats governing councils with contempt. The only time they acknowledge us is when we are being blamed for something. I hoped things would improve after the last CE was sacked but the situation has become even worse under the new guy, whoever he is.

    Comment by Michael A — November 16, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  26. We need to protect and give our kids the best opportunity to succeed in life, that is the most important thing we need the remember. If a person is guilty of any kind of child abuse i want to know when that person is a threat to my child or any other. As a Governing Council chairperson i would be extremely disappointed if other Council members looked after DECD image before a child’s education or safety. We need policies that give our kids the best education that they can give them and in the safest environment available.

    Comment by Rick Slattery — November 16, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

  27. Well said Larry. I have been on a GC that was threatened and intimidated by DECS. Whenever I tried to ask questions, wanted comments clarified, asked if staff following correct financial procedures the walls went up and the aggression started. Have been threatened personally, rumours instigated by school staff about myself and my family. Bullied by DECS and school staff. Relationships destroyed with other parents. What else have DECS covered up?

    Comment by Frustrated Volunteer — November 16, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  28. This is why parents like me take our children out of public school. No matter what the expense, it’s cheaper than what it would cost to leave my children in these people’s ‘care’.

    Comment by D Hamilton — November 16, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

  29. Well said Anna. The education ministers conduct is indeed disGRACEful. Well said everyone.

    Comment by Belinda M — November 17, 2012 @ 12:10 am

  30. I am a parent who had 2 children at the school Mr Harvey was arrested at, My question is what about notification to those parents who had children attending the school or at least the out of school hours care at the time of his employment. We moved schools due to other reasons before any of this came to light but should’nt we be notified also. Both my daughter and son were very involved with the OSHC to the point my daughter would volunteer her own time after school and on holidays after she had graduated from year 7 and her little brother was still attending. People like this pray on children who easily trust or perhaps are looking for another adult mentor in there lives – the cover up has been disgraceful We as parents have the right to know who is employed at the school and out of hours facilities, there are enough known and registered paedophiles in the western suburbs without covering up more. Our children have the right to attend school and OSHC and be in a safe environment where they can trust the adults who are caring for them not be abused by them

    Comment by Kirsty — November 17, 2012 @ 8:05 am

  31. I’m on a governing council and our principal wont let us see anything relating to OUR OSHC! According to her budget reports are confidential and she hires and fires our staff. We know (thanks to SAASSO) this wrong but she says decd says she can ignore the constitution and do whatever she wants. Her exact words: “nobody expects governing councils to be taken seriously”.

    Comment by Linda P — November 17, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

  32. I see lots of parents here with the same experience. It has become so bad half our governing council has resigned. Two years ago the principal would at least he was confused about the role of GC. Now he is open that the word from on high is that he can just ignore us and nobody can do anything about it.

    Comment by J. Jones — November 17, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  33. Once a person has been convicted of such an offence there should be an obligation to the school community for full disclosure. I find it appalling that a DECD member would or could try to cover up such activities and tell a Governing Council to keep it from their own school community. We are all parents and we all need to know if our children have been put in harm’s way. We need to do all we can to change the way DECD answer to us, the parents and school community.

    Comment by Rick — November 17, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  34. This government is failing our children in literacy, numeracy, science and languages. So, where do they get the arrogance to think they should decide what we get to know about what happens to our own children?

    Comment by E. Tonkins — November 18, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

  35. I wonder if miss portholesi would be as forgiving of a cover up if it happened in her child’s school, which I bet isn’t in the western suburbs?

    Comment by Louise H — November 18, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

  36. Weatherill had no respect for parents as education minister & his government has no respect for us now.

    Comment by Jen — November 19, 2012 @ 12:37 am

  37. Linda P our principal tried to tell us we weren’t allowed to see any budget reports! He claimed councils could only see the annual report. We called DECS parent complaint line and they told us to work it out with the principal. When we showed our principal the part of the constitution saying we should get a budget report at each meeting that SAASSO sent to us, he said the constitution didn’t apply anymore.

    Comment by Jim L — November 19, 2012 @ 1:01 am

  38. Another example of the irresponsible tactics and attitude of this government in the paper today. Keeping more information from parents about bullying this time. Weatherill’s government really is all about image.

    Comment by Catherine V — November 19, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

  39. I have a daughter who went to that OSHC. I have one question for DisGrace Portolesi. By what right do you decide whether I should know if my child has been in the care of a paedophile? Who do you think you are to make that decision for me? I pray your family never goes through the fear mine is going through.

    Comment by K.L. — November 19, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  40. K.L – portholesi had no right to make that decision for you. And you are right to feel anger at her disGraceful conduct. The fact that she is still education minister says all we need to know about the character of the weatherill government. K.L., I will pray for your family.

    Comment by Deb H. — November 19, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

  41. Will governments ‘independent’ investigator be consulting with SAASSO ? You can bet the teachers union and principals association will be involved. Will parents be represented or will this be another example of the contempt jay and grace feel toward parents?

    Comment by B. Morrisey — November 20, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  42. Weatherill doesn’t make move without the approval of the union but his government would NEVER work with the parents association. He doesn’t want us having a real say!

    Comment by Dwayne R — November 20, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  43. Agreed dwayne. I work at decd and they would work with the shadow minister before they would cooperate with SAASSO! They don’t like what SAASSO says …. You and I call it the truth.

    Comment by J. T. — November 20, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  44. Our principal tells us not to call SAASSO and refuses to let us have their training.

    Comment by Cam A. — November 20, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  45. Such petty conduct from a government department. Glad I don’t work there!

    Comment by Fed Up Councillor — November 20, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  46. Look out SAASSO just a press release from disGrace Portolesi and she’s using your blue font and banner! Someone’s attempt to appear parent friendly?

    Comment by Jim L — November 21, 2012 @ 11:40 am

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