The Queensland Teachers’ Union and the Independent Education Union have spoken of terrifying incidents at schools, including students throwing chairs at teachers and stalking.
The Queensland Teachers’ Union and the Independent Education Union have spoken of terrifying incidents at schools, including students throwing chairs at teachers and stalking.

Shock surge in student attacks on teachers

PHYSICAL attacks on teachers by students in Queensland schoolyards are on the rise, with shocking data revealing nearly 400 workers compensation claims related to assaults or exposure to violence were lodged in less than a year.

Latest WorkCover data, obtained by The Courier-Mail, show public school staff submitted 359 claims between July 1, 2017, and June 15 this year over assault or exposure to violence.

This was an increase of 55 incidents reported during the previous financial year.

Some 229 claims were made by teachers with 130 claims made by other staff.

The Queensland Teachers’ Union and the Independent Education Union have spoken of terrifying incidents at schools, including students throwing chairs at teachers and stalking.
The Queensland Teachers’ Union and the Independent Education Union have spoken of terrifying incidents at schools, including students throwing chairs at teachers and stalking.

Both the Queensland Teachers' Union and the Independent Education Union have warned of terrifying incidents at schools, including students throwing chairs at teachers and stalking.

"We've had incidents where teachers have been punched by students, where students have tackled teachers to have access to their FOB keys that give them access to different areas," QUT deputy general secretary Kate Ruttiman said.

"We've also had incidents where students have … thrown things hidden under desks."

An Education Department spokeswoman said the department took a zero tolerance approach to violence in any form and "fully supports staff in reporting incidences".

She said principals were responsible for "the good order and management of their schools" and had a range of statutory powers they could use to discipline bad behaviour and protect staff and students.

"This includes the power to suspend and exclude students and to ban hostile persons from the school premises," she said.

 

Public school staff submitted 359 claims between July 1, 2017, and June 15 this year over assault or exposure to violence.
Public school staff submitted 359 claims between July 1, 2017, and June 15 this year over assault or exposure to violence.

 

The spokeswoman said the department's workforce had grown by about 1000 extra staff in recent years.

Independent Education Union of Australia's Paul Giles said it was concerning that teachers did not feel they could work in a safe environment.

"Fortunately, assaults on teachers are rare however, even one case of harassment or abuse of teachers is too many," he said.

"Our union has had cases of stalking of teachers by students and parents.

"We have recently had a member who was struck in the head with a chair by a student after giving a verbal direction.

"The onus is also on the community to respect and support the profession as teachers are tasked with educating their children."

Education Minister Grace Grace said any assaults on teachers were unacceptable.

"While the increase in incidents and claims may be attributed to an increase in teacher and student numbers, along with the introduction of anti-violence awareness programs - there is certainly no place for violence in our schools," she said.

"The health, safety and wellbeing of our teachers and staff is paramount and we will continue to provide them with required support."



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