A Bowen mother sent a school into lockdown while trying to retrieve her child. Photo: File
A Bowen mother sent a school into lockdown while trying to retrieve her child. Photo: File

Angry mum sends Bowen High into lockdown

A MOTHER sent a Bowen school into lockdown trying to retrieve her child after an altercation with the principal.

Shannon Maree Connelly visited the school in June after her daughter was involved in a fight with another student at Bowen State High School.

Bowen Magistrates Court this week heard Connelly's daughter was excluded from the school for a year after the fight, but the mother was upset because the other student did not receive the same punishment.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors said Connelly, who faced court the day before she was due to deliver her sixth child, went to the school to speak to the principal about the exclusion and became aggressive.

Sgt Myors said Connelly told the principal none of her children would be continuing at the school so the principal told the mother she would get her other daughter from class.

To that Connelly replied, "No you won't you white b----, I'll get her", Sgt Myors said.

The court heard Connelly was told she could not enter the school grounds, but she ignored the direction and entered the school grounds anyway.

 

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Because of her "hostile" and "abusive" nature the school was placed into emergency lockdown, Sgt Myors said.

Sgt Myors said the Bowen mother collected her other child from class and left the school grounds with both daughters.

When interviewed by police, Connelly said she believed her daughter's punishment was an equality issue and she did not want her other child to be taught by people who didn't appear to believe in equality.

This week Connelly pleaded guilty to wilfully disturbing the good order or management of a state educational institution.

Lawyer Cleo Rewald appeared for Connelly, saying the 39-year-old mum's actions were out of character as she had no criminal history.

The court heard she was happy with her decision to pull her daughters out of the school as they were now doing well with distance education.

"Ms Connelly accepts that she perhaps could have dealt with the situation slightly differently, however, she did get angry that only her child was being penalised to the extent of an exclusion," Ms Rewald said.

A mother pulled her two daughters out of school after sending it into lockdown. Photo: Ellen Smith
A mother pulled her two daughters out of school after sending it into lockdown. Photo: Ellen Smith

"Twelve months for her child to be excluded from a school, which is the only high school here in Bowen."

Connelly told Magistrate James Morton she believed her daughter's exclusion was a race issue but admitted the principal didn't say anything racist to Connelly or her daughter.

"I tried to explain to (the principal) that as a parent you're meant to teach your kids equality in everything in life," Connelly told the court.

"How am I as a parent meant to teach my child equality …. when you're doing the exact same thing by letting the other child who was in the fight as well and yet my child gets 20 days' suspension, a year exclusion and the other child simply gets to go home and come back to school?"

Mr Morton asked Connelly why she brought race into the equation, saying that he believed she could be mistaken.

"You get 10 out of 10 for going down and looking after your child's welfare," Mr Morton said.

"But when you chuck the race relation in … it takes it a step further, doesn't it?"

Connelly was placed on a $200 good behaviour bond for six months and no conviction was recorded.