Spike in aggressive behaviour in Simcoe County schools: report
Published Wednesday, October 4, 2017 6:47PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 4, 2017 6:48PM EDT
Aggressive student lash outs are becoming more common at schools in Simcoe County, according to a new report.
Teachers and support staff say they are being punched, kicked, scratched and even spit on by students. Ruth Ferris experienced it firsthand. She suffered a serious concussion six years ago and is still recovering.
She now battles constantly with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“When it happened, I was extremely surprised… shocked,” she says. “I was thinking, ‘Oh no, not me.’”
The report by local teachers’ unions shows that last year alone there were 2,000 aggressive incident reports. The majority were from staff working with special needs students.
Incident reports include anything from students yelling to pulling out a knife.
“I would suggest a large majority of my members, teachers in Simcoe County, are shocked by what is happening in schools,” says Janey Bigham, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario in Simcoe County.
The union estimates 25 to 40 per cent of aggressive incidents go unreported.
“Simcoe County District School Board needs to make staff safety a higher priority,” says Kelly Martin, Local 330 president of Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
In some cases, OPSEU reveals staff are encouraged not to file incident reports by school officials.
The union representing local support staff say ignoring these incidents and how to prevent them often leads to far more serious altercations.
However, the board believes its doing the best it can.
“We have A-plus staff and we certainly have the opportunity to do better. Are we at the level right now? I would say we strive to,” says John Dances, a spokesperson for the board.
The board says in September they experienced lower than average incidents in their schools. That number is compared to stats collected in the past year.
It says they're working with local unions to make everyone safe.