- Jul 2011
Much more here: As teachers report more violent incidents in schools, boards struggle to manage children with complex needsThe words in the injury reports speak volumes: “I was repeatedly hit on the head, shoulders, chest and back,” wrote an educator in Edmonton, describing an encounter with a violent student at school. A child “scratched both my arms and drew blood,” wrote another.
A third indicates that a student was asked to follow a routine of going to the bathroom and then having a snack with classmates, but “verbally protested no and punched me in the jaw.”
Biting. Kicking. Spitting. Scratching. Punching. Blows to the head. Aggressive, often violent, reported incidents against educators are on the rise, a Globe and Mail survey of data from school boards across the country has found.
Educators at the Toronto District School Board, the country’s largest school district, logged 3,831 reports of workplace violence over the past academic year, up from 1,894 reports in 2014-15. In Edmonton, the number of violent incidents against staff members involving students documented by Edmonton Public Schools more than doubled between the 2015-16 academic year and 2017-18. At the Surrey School District, the largest in B.C., the number of reported violent incidents by a student against a staff member climbed from 190 in 2008-09 to 1,642 in the 2017-18 school year.
New research by University of Ottawa professors Darcy Santor and Chris Bruckert confirms the troubling rise. In a paper released this month, the researchers say that while 7 per cent of educators in Ontario’s schools reported being the target of physical violence by students in 2005, by 2017-18, the rate had increased to 54 per cent experiencing violence by physical force, which included being hit, kicked and bitten by students. It characterizes the rate of violence as “alarmingly high."
While the number of reported incidents is increasing, gaps in the data make it difficult to determine which types of incidents are most frequent, why they’re occurring and the characteristics of the students involved.
Statistics on violence instigated by students against educators is inconsistent across the country, and some boards and provinces don’t even collect them.
But in interviews with The Globe, board administrators and educators cited a handful of factors, including mental-health issues, child poverty and the integration of special-needs students with complex behavioural issues into mainstream classrooms.
The result? Classrooms being repeatedly evacuated because of a disruptive child; staff on medical leave for prolonged periods after being physically hurt; families increasingly asked to pick up their children early or keep them home for an indefinite period because of behavioural issues; and other parents fearing for the safety of their own children.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario describes violence in schools as one of the biggest issues facing its members. In Nova Scotia, one classroom was evacuated 12 times in a month, says Paul Wozney, president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, because of a disruptive child. The rest of the students were forced into another room to give the student a chance to calm down. Many teachers and school staff live in a heightened state of anxiety, he said, and it is not uncommon for them to be injured on the job and be fitted with bite-resistant sleeves and other protective equipment.
“At a time when we’re starting to reduce the stigma around PTSD for first responders, for people that serve in the Canadian military … I think we have a lot of road to travel in that regard as it pertains to teachers that suffer violence in the classroom,” he says.
I must say, I disagree about blaming "poverty" here.
Look here, for instance
Because, despite all, respect for teachers is still engrained in Russian culture, at all social class levels of that society.
Not so here, unfortuntely. So it seems, to me. It's sad. We let kids get away with all kind of crap, coddle them, and dismiss their outbursts as "special needs", as if it is an illness or something, instead of a disciplinary issue...
That's plain wrong, in my opinion.