Teachers strike amid town’s unrest after stabbing deaths

ABOVE: Art display on walls of Casino High School in January. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

The closure of Casino High School tomorrow because of strike action comes at a time when there is already anxiety in the community since the stabbing deaths of two local youths.

Rumours of a brawl planned at the school spread in the community.

Relieving principal Alecia Keatney wrote a letter to parents to clarify the situation.

“As some of you will be aware there is currently unrest in our town, and unsubstantiated rumours circulating locally, following the fatalities of two young people.”

Ms Keatney is referring to the stabbing and death of Lachie Andrews at the KFC carpark in Casino on May 29 and the murder of Ned Gronow at his home on June 25.

Ms Keatney reassured parents and students in the letter.

“I would like to reassure you that your children are safe at school, and that we have been working closely with police and their youth command to ensure students and staff continue to be safe here and on their way to and from school.

“There is industrial action scheduled for tomorrow June 30 and the school will be non-operational.”

She urged calm during this time.

The 24-hour strike tomorrow, Thursday, June 30 will be the first time the NSW Teachers Federation and the NSW branch of the Independent Education Union of Australia have gone on strike together.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the joint action was a direct result of the failure of the NSW Government and Catholic employers to address the teaching crisis in our schools.

“Acting on uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads is the only way to stop more teachers leaving and attract the people into the profession we need to fix the shortages,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

Internal Department of Education documents showed 1,906 permanent teaching positions were vacant last month – 67% higher than at the same time last year.

Parents should have been notified about the supervision available at their child’s school by individual schools.

Kyogle High School will be open for minimum supervision. Regular class timetables will not operate.

Students are welcome to attend and can access computers to catch up on class work or assessments. Students will be fully supervised.

Canteen will be open with a reduced menu.

Evans River K-12 Community School will have minimal supervision from 8:30am until 3:30pm. A roll call will take place in the morning to organise any students who attend school.

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