Teachers in Ontario are on the receiving end of a huge increase in violence in the elementary school system according to a new study done by the University of Ottawa.
The study called: “Facing the Facts: The Escalating Crisis of Violence Against Elementary School Educators in Ontario”, showed that there was almost 7 times the number of incidents found since 2005 with 54 per cent of respondents to the study saying they had experienced physical violence such as punching, kicking or biting — primarily at the hands of students.
Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), said the increase in violence has lead to increased absenteeism in teachers.
A team of researchers surveyed more than 1,600 educators last year to gauge the number of times they encountered violence from students, parents or administrators during the 2017-18 school year.
They then compared those results to a survey undertaken by three major unions in 2005, which found that only seven per cent of teachers at the time reported experiencing bullying over the course of their careers.
The survey also found 72 per cent of participants reported explicit verbal insults or obscene gestures from a student, with 41 per cent saying they’d had similar encounters with a parent.
The report says such incidents included anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim slurs delivered in class.
Experts Weigh In
Criminology professor and study co-author Chris Bruckert says the spike reflects many changes in both social conditions and educational programs over the past 12 years and should be considered the crisis that it is rather than considered an exaggerated look at the system.
Bruckert also referred to the situation as “a serious problem that needs attention” that has not received the academic study and attention it deserves to this point.
Some of the critical points in the study include the following:
-An almost seven-fold increase in the experience of violence against educators since 2007, when the first Canadian survey was taken.
-About 54 per cent of educators reported experiencing violence in the form of physical force, such as hitting, biting, and kicking, during the 2017-2018 school year. Also, 60 per cent reported an attempt to use physical violence, and 49 per cent experienced a threat to use physical force. The study showed that the student almost always initiated violence.
-About 72 per cent of teachers reported experiencing some form of verbal abuse, such as yelling, cursing or insults, from a student. Forty-one per cent of teachers said that kind of abuse came from a parent or guardian.
-Higher levels of either harassment or physical violence are associated with diminished physical and mental health as well as lower job performance. This was apparent even when assessed some six months after the school year in which the trouble occurred.
To view the study go to the link HERE.
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