Children on a remote island aged younger than 11 are repeatedly attacking their teachers with machetes in the dead of night – leaving them desperate to get rescued, it has been alleged.
The armed primary school children have repeatedly broken into teachers' homes while they are sleeping in the community living on Groote Eylandt, about 670km east of Darwin, in Northern Territory (NT) Australia, the Australian Education Union has said.
They say that police often fail to respond to calls for help following the horrifying attacks and so is demanding the teachers get rescued from the island for their own safety.
"Teaching staff [are] repeatedly the victim of break-ins, often during the middle of the night, by intruders wielding machetes and axes," AEU NT branch president Jarvis Ryan said.
"They have damaged school buildings and vehicles, often leaving behind large weapons."
The union also shared photos of some of the terrifying weapons said to have been used during the break-ins and acts of vandalism.
"The ongoing threat to employee safety in their homes and in their workplace is causing significant psychological harm to the teaching staff working at Umbakumba," Mr Ryan said.
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He said teachers were committed to doing the best they could for their students but they are "unwilling to continue to be expected to live in a community where their safety at night cannot be guaranteed".
Mr Ryan said the union contacted the NT Education Department six days ago and requested it move staff to the mining town of Alyangula, 65 kilometres away.
He said the department would only agree to relocate staff on a short-term basis because there weren't enough houses available.
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NT Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Murphy said police had responded to a number of complaints arising from "property offences and threatening behaviour" in Umbakumba in the past two weeks.
"A small number of children under the age of 11 have been identified as being principally responsible for the behaviours and police are working with their families and other authorities to address these behaviours," he said.
The local police force said it was reviewing rostering on the island and would continue discussions with teachers about bolstering security at their homes while also work with local families to address the children's alleged behaviour.
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Officers stationed in the Angurugu community and Alyangula undertake night patrols in Umbakumba, Dep Comm Murphy said.
"This school is churning through multiple principals per year because it is not a safe working environment," Mr Ryan said.
"The department is not listening to its staff and making the necessary changes to address the problems."
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the government was "talking to Umbakumba teachers daily" and was "surging up the police response" in the town.
He said: "Our plan and our priority is, how do we make everyone in that community safe?"
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