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Pandemic, cellphones may have contributed to rise in N.S. school violence: officials

Click to play video: 'Auditor says N.S. needs better prevention to address rising school violence'
Auditor says N.S. needs better prevention to address rising school violence
Violence in schools across Nova Scotia is rising and according to a new Auditor General’s report, teachers and school staff feel they do not have enough training to manage the issue. As Amber Fryday reports, they’re fearing for their safety – Jun 11, 2024

Nova Scotia officials say the COVID-19 pandemic, students’ use of cellphones and school crowding may have contributed to the spike in school violence.

Elwin LeRoux, deputy minister of the Department of Education, said today data shows that many violent incidents in schools involve elementary-aged children who missed out on socializing in person with peers during the pandemic.

LeRoux says violent outbursts among young students decreases as they are taught by teachers “to use their voice, not their hands” when dealing with conflict or frustration.

The deputy minister made the comments after a legislative committee meeting called in response to last week’s report by the auditor general, who found a sharp rise in school violence, with training and prevention measures failing to keep pace.

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Kim Adair’s report found 31 per cent of teachers reported seeing or experiencing daily violence at school, and that staff are left feeling unprepared to deal with the concerning trend.

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Steve Gallagher, with the Halifax Regional Centre for Education, told reporters today the school population boom and the time youth spend on their phones on social media may be contributing to increased violence.

“The cellphone is a conduit to conflict in schools,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Halifax-area students stage walkout to demand better safety'
Halifax-area students stage walkout to demand better safety

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2024.

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