September 11, 2019 6:28 am

New study shows spike in violent incidents teachers face in Ontario’s elementary schools

Vacant desks are pictured at the front of an empty classroom.

Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press
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TORONTO – A study from the University of Ottawa suggests there has been a sharp increase in the level of violence teachers face while working in Ontario’s elementary schools.

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.

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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.

READ MORE: Ontario education minister responds after Durham teacher speaks out about classroom violence

The researchers found that number had surged nearly seven-fold in the intervening years, with 54 per cent of respondents saying they had experienced physical violence such as punching, kicking or biting – primarily at the hands of students.

The survey 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, taunts of “build the wall,” and calls for teachers to “go back to your country.”

WATCH: Parents, educators weigh in on violence in Durham Region classrooms (May 30, 2017)

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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