The New England Times has obtained figures from NSW Police on the number of times they have attended Armidale Secondary College since the school opened at Butler Street.
The shocking figures, obtained from NSW Police under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (commonly referred to as GIPA, the state equivalent of Freedom of Information) make it clear that violence and other issues are on the rise at the troubled school. Combined with the data from the Department of Education about the number of critical incidents at the school, it adds further evidence that NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar was either misled by his department, or knowingly lied about the number and severity of incidents at the school when speaking to ABC New England North West.
Mr Dizdar acknowledged there were incidents at the school but dismissed them as being small in number and happening a long time ago, claiming that the recent reporting of issues at the school were ‘sensationalised’.
The figures reveal the reports are anything but sensationalised, and the problems are not from a year ago. In the first half of this year NSW Police have already attended the school as many times as they did in the entirety of 2021, and more than the entirety of 2022.
2021 2022 2023 Average January 1 0 0 0.5 February 4 8 3 5 March 0 3 11 4.7 April 2 0 3 1.7 May 1 3 8 4 June 4 1 4 3 July 1 1 1* August 1 1 1* September 1 2 1.5* October 6 5 5.5* November 6 1 3.5* December 2 0 1* Total 29 25 29*
The figures reveal a pattern of more incidents in the hotter months, and early in the school terms, which aligns with the claims of parents and students.
“My daughter says it’s like a reset button every term,” one parent told us.
“All the suspended kids come back and cause trouble, and then get suspended again.”
NSW Police reportedly attended the school again this week, after an incident at the bus bay, which allegedly involved a student carrying a weapon and intending to harm another student.
This story is part of a series the New England Times is working on about Armidale Secondary College. Reports of violence, bullying, and other issues within the school are not dying down. We want to hear your stories – the good and the bad – whether you’re a student, parent, teacher, or other interested member of the community.
Some of the content in these stories is distressing. If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
- Headspace on 1800 650 890