Sunday Star Times 8 April 2012
A teacher is punched in the face, another is shoved in the chest and their lunch stolen, one is regularly verbally abused while another has their car vandalised. But at the schools’ request, none of it is reported to police.
Post-Primary Teachers Association president Robin Duff called the situation “intolerable”.
He said, in the PPTA News, the teachers’ union could not continue to be “complicit in this conspiracy of silence” that concealed the level of violence within schools.
He said competitiveness in schools gave them an incentive to hide issues of violence towards teachers and staff, and some schools didn’t want police involved because it could lead to negative publicity.
The national executive was “particularly concerned” to learn that some schools were actually forbidding teachers from reporting instances to police.
In one case a teacher was sitting in their classroom eating lunch when a student walked in and punched them in the face. The school told the teacher not to go to police because it would be dealt with internally. Nothing happened.
Another a teacher was shoved in the chest and their lunch was taken.
There were also numerous reports of teachers being punched, kicked or threatened, and property including cars and houses, being vandalised.
One teacher said every teacher knew a colleague who had been verbally abused, physically threatened or suffered instances with students out of control and a risk to themselves and others.
“Senior management of schools are under pressure to reduce instances of suspension and expulsion and we all know of instances where there is pressure not to report assaults on persons, or criminal damage to teachers’ property.”
As a result the PPTA had issued members with an instruction to report assaults on teachers to police. By issuing an instruction rather than a recommendation it hoped teachers in “all kinds of schools would do it” making it less likely that individual schools could be singled out.