Principals report high school violence
Almost half of all Australian school principals were threatened with violence in 2018.
A new survey includes claims that school principals have been headbutted, abused and threatened with scissors - by both students and their parents – including one parent who “nodded at a shotgun on their dashboard as they drove past me slowly and looked at me”.
The latest annual Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing survey finds 45 per cent of principals were threatened with violence in 2018, and 37 per cent were attacked.
Reports from school principals include;
- "I have PTSD from having a gun pointed at me by a student."
- "A parent charged at me, picked up a whiteboard in the foyer and threw it at me."
- "I have been pinched, punched, spat at, headbutted and threatened to be stabbed with scissors."
- "Kicked and punched by students, verbally abused by parents, physically intimidated. I've spent months at a time dreading the walk out to my car at night."
- "From parents I've been stalked by car, tailgated, phone calls with threats to harm, tyre burnouts in school car park after conversations at the car door."
- "I have been verbally abused at a whole school sports day because a child was not awarded a first place ribbon when they came third."
- "I had a violent student standing in front of myself and the Assistant Principal with two sharp kitchen knives in his hands, threatening to 'cut us'."
- "I have been attacked on numerous occasions — attacked by young people to the extent of almost becoming unconscious."
The highest number of violent threats came from government primary schools, with female staff most likely to be targeted.
“Clearly, our nation builders are under attack,” ACU Associate Professor and survey chief investigator Philip Riley said.
“The steadily increasing levels of offensive behaviour in schools of all types is a disgrace and it needs to stop.”
Dr Riley said external pressures could play a role.
“In terms of education, there is a lot of anxiety around things like NAPLAN results, PISA results,” he said.
“It has become a competition sport rather than something that's collaborative and that creates a whole lot of anxiety.”
Education experts have reflected on the concerning stats in an article for The Conversation.