Child Panic and the media: Representations of schools, teaching practice and child protection legislation in the Australian press

Year: 2004

Author: Mellor, Lise, Sachs, Judyth

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper explores the manner in which the Australian press media has a role in shaping public consciousness regarding the issue of harm to children in schools. Our analysis of national press reportage during 2003 reveals two consistent narratives which antagonistically intersect and perpetuate social anxiety around issues of child protection and teaching practice in schools. We locate this alongside legislative changes and data drawn from a three-year research project investigating the shifting relationships between teachers’ identity and child protection policies. Finally we consider the positive role that the Australian press media can play in recuperating schools as safe and dynamic learning environments.