Union plots high rate of assault
Around one-quarter of public school teachers have reported being assaulted by a student this year.
According to the latest State School Teachers Union (SSTU) survey, which involved 3,000 members, 11 per cent of respondents had been the victims of violent behaviour by students at least once this year, with 12 per cent reporting being assaulted more than once.
Principals emerged as the most likely to be attacked by parents, with 38 per cent reporting being physically assaulted by a parent in the past year.
Less than 2 per cent were assaulted by students.
Between 20 and 25 per cent said physically violent behaviour among students occurred at their school on a weekly basis.
“Teachers and school leaders should be able to go to school without being abused, assaulted, bullied or harassed by students and their parents,” SSTU president, Pat Byrne, told The West Australian .
“We simply cannot accept that education staff being abused in their workplace is the new normal.”
Ms Byrne said members were not confident in the Education Department’s behaviour management strategies, calling for them to be expanded and for more specialist staff to be employed.
“There also needs to be more genuine alternative placement options for problem students, so that they can get the help they need, while limiting their disruption of other students,” she said.
Ms Byrne said state measures could reduce some violence in schools, but urged parents to take responsibility for their children’s behaviour.
Western Australia’s Education Minister, Peter Collier, says he has written to Attorney-General Michael Mischin asking him to consider increasing penalties for assaults on school staff.