The classroom is supposed to a place of learning and a chance for students to grow personally and academically.
Unfortunately, there are too many occasions where the teachers who are expected to guide these students are facing violence on the job.
According to a survey from the BC Teachers Federation (BCTF), 92% of teachers who experienced violence or bullying felt stress, or anxiety while nearly 80% reported fatigue, loss of sleep and headaches.
While the BCTF is making progress on the issue, there’s still a long way to go.
“These situations are taken much more seriously than what they might have been five or six years ago but the problem is that there are still a lot of people who don’t file reports at all and even if they do, the complaints are being taken seriously,” says Glen Hansman, BCTF President.
“Nobody who works K-12 whether its a teacher or support staff, principal or vice-principal should or expect to be hit, pinched or spat at or otherwise harmed by a student, threatened by a parent but unfortunately it does occur and it happens in pretty significant numbers.”
Hansman is of the belief the under-reporting is due to many teachers sweeping these experiences under the rug because there is a perception out there where kids who act out in the classroom is considered normal by many educators.
“We do know that there are many places around British Columbia where the attitude is a bit more casual around these complaints or that our members and other workers in the K-12 system are told not to take it so seriously or if it’s an eight-year-old, to give the kid a break.”
If a teacher in any school district in the north experienced violence, they can use the grievance process through the collective agreement or the Straight Forward Violent Incidents System.
The survey was run in conjunction with the Canadian Teachers Federation.
In BC, the reporting rate for these kinds of incidents is only 58%.
A full report is expected to be released by the BCTF this fall.