ETFO members’ survey shows violence pervasive in schools

Feb 5, 2018 @ 07:45

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) commissioned Strategic Communications (Stratcom) to conduct a survey of its members from October 21 to November 13, 2017, regarding their experiences of workplace violence from the 2016-2017 school year.

The survey results reveal an increase in the number and severity of violent incidents. ETFO members also say that front line supports are not always available, school administrators do not consistently act on violent incident reports, and they are suffering from the effects of violent incidents.


From the Executive Summary:

‘Seventy percent of members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) say they have personally experienced violence or have witnessed violence in schools, according to an independent survey conducted for the Federation in November.

“Our members report that the number and severity of violent incidents is increasing and front line supports are lacking for students with high risk behaviours, said ETFO President Sam Hammond.

“For many students, learning is being disrupted and violence normalized because the whole education system is under-resourced. ETFO’s message to Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government is that nothing short of fixing the education funding formula will solve the problem.”

More than one-third of ETFO members report that they have suffered mental stress, sustained physical injury or illness from violent incidents and that principals and school boards are failing to deal effectively with these incidents.

While over two-thirds of members have reported incidents involving physical force to principals, only 50 per cent said there was follow-up or investigation in all or some cases. Three-quarters (77%) rate actions taken by schools to prevent a recurrence as not effective.

School boards are not getting the necessary funding from the government to ensure high risk students are getting early assessments, access to front line support workers and other services that they need.

Nor is the government holding principals and school boards accountable for compliance with health and safety legislative and policy requirements and reporting of incidents set out under the Education Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act and Ministry of Education documents.

“ETFO has repeatedly called on the government to fix the funding formula and review the statistical model it uses for Special Education so that funding meets actual student needs,” said Hammond.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 80,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.’

The entire report can be read here.

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