It’s not just students who can have a hard time in the school yard and increasingly teachers are finding themselves under attack.
In South Australia the number of teachers assaulted by students has reportedly doubled in three years, while around one a week is physically attacked by a parent.
Last year there were 549 reports of student violence against teachers in the state’s schools, a dramatic jump from 231 in 2012, according to data from the Department of Education.
“Acts of violence from students and threatened violence from parents have become an issue,” Australian Education Union state president Howard Spreadbury told Adelaide Now.
“This is partly a result of students with extreme behaviour and learning disabilities being in mainstream schools.”
“[The department] have been putting additional resources in some schools where there has been an extremely violent student” Mr Spreadbury said, but said more must be done.
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Both the government and opposition agreed on the importance of tackling the “disturbing” trend.
The Education Department’s Anne Millard, executive director for school and preschool improvement, labelled the safety of teachers as “critical” but acknowledged the complexity of the problem, pointing out that aggressive or violent behaviour is often learned in the home.
Indeed, it’s not just students who are mistreating teaching staff, 33 teachers were physically assaulted by parents last year, which is about one every six school days.
“While staff make reasonable attempts to resolve conflicts calmly and amicably, on occasion parents or carers may become disruptive or aggressive,” Ms Millard said, adding intimidation and threats are also increasingly becoming a problem.
Under current procedures principals may issue warning letters or “prohibition notices” to disruptive parents and may, in extreme cases, call the police.
Ms Millard added that the department was looking at ways to improve the current procedures.