‘Completely unacceptable’ behaviour sparks outrage

A group of Sydney students have been suspended and may face legal action after they were filmed allegedly abusing a disabled man on a train.

The incident, involving six students from The Georges River College, was filmed by an outraged passenger on the South Coast line on Monday afternoon and is now being investigated by officers from the NSW Transport Command.

The passenger, who was seated with her mother, was too nervous to intervene and instead recorded the abuse on her mobile phone. The footage has since gone viral, having now been viewed more than 350,000 times on the woman’s Facebook page.

In a statement yesterday, a spokesperson for the NSW Education Department said disciplinary action had been taken against the students and provided an apology to the victim.

“The behaviour of students involved in this incident is completely unacceptable, and the Department apologises to the young person involved,” the spokesperson said.

“The conduct of these students is totally contrary to the high behaviour standard and values expected of all NSW public school students.

“All students involved in this incident will be suspended, and their parents will be fully informed about the reason for the disciplinary action.”

NSW Secondary Principals Council (NSWSPC) president, Lila Mularczyk, told The Educator that schools have a strong values system with explicit programs to develop appropriate behaviors, social norms and respectful beliefs and actions at school and in the community.

“Students in school are clearly advised that behaviour expectations whilst in school uniform do not falter within or outside the school. I cannot imagine any school accepting the behaviour reported in this situation,” she said.

Mularczyk added that in order to prevent situations like the one on Monday from occurring, schools have a suite of strategies to assist young people understand the consequences of their actions.

“In addition to formal ramifications, parental involvement, restitution, police youth conferences, mediation and counselling are some additional options,” she said.

“Schools work in consultation with the parents, staff and students to ensure a united belief, message and expectations when developing programs to educate and inform young people in our schools of the decent and respectful way to treat oneself and others.”