A Warrnambool psychologist is concerned about escalating violence and bullying in south-west schools.
Dr Janine Bounds has written to Deputy Premier James Merlino outlining her concerns that a student will be seriously injured if something isn't done.
Her comments follow a recent incident at a south-west school.
Senior Constable Jo Wastell confirmed police had been contacted after a 15-year-old took a multi tool with a fold out knife to school. She said the boy claimed he was being bullied and he took the tool to school for protection. The police officer said she had spoken to the youth and he received a caution in relation to the incident.
"He was polite, he understood he had done the wrong thing and vowed and declared it would never happen again," Senior Constable Wastell said. "He's very remorseful," she said.
A Department of Education and Training spokesman said it was aware of an incident that occurred at the school on May 4.
"The matter was immediately reported to police and the school took appropriate action," the spokesman said.
Dr Bounds, who has spent most of her working life as a school chaplain, said she was speaking to clients on an "almost daily" basis about bullying and threats of violence in schools. "At the present time, students who I care for are facing a level of violence at a frequency that I have never before experienced," she said. "Two days ago one of my clients was 'viciously attacked' at lunch time in front of the closed school library."
Dr Bounds said the incident was captured on CCTV.
"On the day the assault occurred, the boy who had been threatened was very scared."
Dr Bounds said she believed teachers were hearing about multiple threats to students on a daily basis.
"Schools may use suspension as a follow through after an incident, but that is not a sufficient deterrent to aggressive bullies," she said.
Dr Bounds said principals were also "severely restricted in terms of being able to expel students". She urged the state government to look at ways it could further support teachers and principals.
In addition to that she believes there should be more support available for "disengaged and aggressive students".
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said she had met with several school principals as well as Dr Bounds recently.
Ms Britnell said she was shocked to learn how difficult many students were finding adapting to returning to classrooms after two years of COVID lockdowns and disruptions.
"Many of the teachers and principals I've spoken with describe really troubled and challenging situations such as high levels of aggression and attacks by students," she said.
A state government spokeswoman said the health, safety and well-being of staff and students was always its priority.
"While incidents of violence and aggressive behaviour remain rare in our more than 1500 government schools, this behaviour in schools is always completely unacceptable - and we have measures in place to ensure all claims are investigated and that disciplinary action is taken where appropriate," the spokeswoman said.
"Assault is a criminal offence and where necessary the Department of Education and Training works closely with the school to ensure the matter is appropriately reported to police."
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