Parents at an Illawarra primary school have accused educators of “terrifying” their children with a decision to replace a popular kindergarten teacher mid-year.
An online petition signed by more than 100 people calls on the NSW Department of Education to reinstate Berkeley Public School KL teacher Mrs Lyons, so her former students may be spared sadness and disruption.
Parent May Helleren created the petition after her daughter Keira-May came home crying three days before the end of term, with a note explaining Mrs Lyons wouldn’t be returning when classes resume, today.
“As parents we cried for our children too, seeing them so hurt and now terrified at the prospect of coming back after the holidays to a new teacher,” Miss Helleren wrote.
“Keira-May, so far, has been unable to enjoy her holidays because she is so upset.
“Every day for the last two months she has come and played 'schools'. Since finding out Mrs Lyons is no longer her teacher she hasn't played once.
“As parents … we were never notified of this and all this has done for our children is teach them that someone you trusted has been taken away, with tears streaming down their faces they can't comprehend why and we can't explain it to them.”
Mr Helleren said she started the petition out of frustration at the school’s lack of communication.
“Parents should be made aware of this before it happens,” she told the Mercury.
“It just would have helped us be better explain that to the children - that you’ve only got Mrs Lyons for a set period of time. At the moment, the kids don’t really understand that when they go back to school they’ll have a new teacher.”
The petition does not explain the circumstances of Mrs Lyons’ departure.
A department spokesman told the Mercury she was employed on a casual basis. He said the position had been filled with a permanent teacher following a merit-based selection process.
According to a department spokesman, temporary and casual teachers now make up about a third of the public teaching workforce.