February 1, 2017

Four public school teachers attacked every week in Australia in 2015

New data, obtained by The Australian under freedom of information laws, revealed that in 2015 alone, 168 public school teachers were violently attacked throughout the 200-day school year. 

The Australian report:

"NSW teachers have been the victims of more than 550 serious physical assaults in the past five years with some of the violent ­attacks the result of “angry parent syndrome’’ leaving teaching staff with concussions, open wounds and fractures.

The injuries peaked in 2015 with 168 attacks on teachers, principals and teaching staff at NSW government schools. Sixty-five teachers were forced to take time off and the other 103 teachers ­required only medical treatment.

The data, obtained by The Australian under freedom of information laws, shows last year there were 75 assaults on teachers ­reported to the state’s insurers up to November.

Over the five years, the most common claim was for abrasions followed by psychological disorders but treatment was also sought for burns, dislocations, as well as crushing and internal ­injuries.

 

 

The information does not identify whether a student, parent or someone else was responsible for an assault on teaching staff or the cost to taxpayers in compensation for violent schoolyards.

Education expert Kevin Donnelly said anecdotally it was probably a mixture of parents and students behind the attacks, ­including those caused by “angry parent syndrome’’.

“Certainly adolescent children, Year 9 and Year 10, can be very confrontational and can be very disruptive given developmentally what they’re going through in terms of adolescence,’’ he said.

Dr Donnelly, who has previously argued bad classroom ­behaviour has contributed to the nation’s sliding education standards, said Australian students were more disruptive than their international counterparts and pointed the blame at their parents.

“Parents are not really raising their children to respect older people and teachers, and they are indulging their children too much and giving them too much freedom and not enough discipline in terms of how to relate to other people and how to respect other people,’’ he said.

Dr Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University who co-chaired the National Curriculum Review, added the problem was “exacerbated by the fact that you now get this angry parent syndrome’’.

“I know some schools have ­actually banned parents coming into the school or into the school grounds without making an official appointment … because they are concerned about parents being confrontational and being disruptive,’’ he said.

Last year, The Australian revealed that almost 1000 Queensland teachers and principals lodged claims for workplace ­assaults in the past five years as part of a nationwide scourge, costing 11,000 work days.

One Queensland teacher spent 519 days recovering from an incident in March 2014 which left them with serious injuries. An ­assault in November 2012 left a Queensland teacher off work for 400 days while a colleague spent 318 days recovering from an ­assault two months earlier.

In NSW, there were 101 ­assaults in 2012, rising to 127 ­attacks a year later, and 81 ­assaults in 2014. A NSW Education Department spokesman said “physical assaults are not tolerated at school’’ and the department had committed resources to support preventive action."

 

Source: The Australian