No place for violence in primary and high schools

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IT seems too early to tell whether pupil violence towards teachers in local schools really is dramatically on the rise until a new system of reporting is utilised long enough to generate a reasonable amount of data to allow year-on-year comparisons.

New statistics show that one primary school teacher or member of staff was verbally abused or physically attacked every day in the last full academic year.

There was 244 such assaults against Borders primary and secondary staff reported in 2011/12, up from just 54 the previous year, with the majority in primary schools, where the figure jumped from just 45 in 2010/11 to 205 in 2011/12.

It was the final months of the previous administration at Scottish Borders Council which saw the adoption of a different method of recording such information, and this led to an expected increase in the overall totals of abusive incidents being noted.

So it is difficult to know whether incidents are actually increasing or whether the number of cases has remained relatively stable.

Either way, it still seems an unacceptably high number. If they are not increasing, it means a large number of incidents must have gone unreported, or unrecorded, previously.

Apparently, the new system makes it easier for teachers to report such instances, which makes you wonder what action was taken over all these other unrecorded incidents prior to the new method’s introduction?

What is without doubt is that there must be a zero tolerance policy towards classroom aggression.

Not just for the sake of teaching staff, but for the educational welfare of those other children who wish to make the most of their educational opportunities and who find such behaviour frightening and disruptive.