Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (July 2017)
Elementary schools in Ontario need better support to protect teachers and students from violent incidents by children with behavioural challenges, according to the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. (ETFO)
The Union held a media conference in Toronto on June 21, 2017, joined by Children’s Mental Health Ontario and the Ontario Autism Coalition, according to an ETFO statement. The groups urge the provincial government to increase frontline supports in school starting September 2017.
“Our students and educators urgently need an infusion of frontline supports in September to improve working and learning conditions in classrooms,” ETFO President Sam Hammond says. “Students exhibiting behavioural challenges must have earlier and better access to school supports. The sooner they get those, the sooner they can experience success as part of their school day.”
Hammond suggested educational assistance, youth workers, social workers, school support counsellors and school board psychologists as examples of supports needed. He adds that the government needs to find funding for more frontline support services in schools and ensure that only new funding is dedicated to that purpose.
ETFO previously called for action to address workplace violence in schools in January 2017. Aside from special-needs funding, the union also requested legislative and policy requirements for safety, such as formal reporting procedures for violent incidents. Hitting, biting, punching and spitting are among the types of assaults that behaviourally challenged children have been directing at teachers and other students, according to the union.
The provincial Ministry of Labour and education announced in June that the government planned to launch an initiative to reduce violence in schools. The plan will include enhanced enforcement by inspectors and managers, guidance materials for teachers and a review of reporting requirements.
This earlier report shows a serious problem in our school systems prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We see that there are ongoing concerns, and will still need to address these acts of violence as the school system, hopefully, returns to normal in September.
Keep your fingers crossed.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Violence and Harassment’ in the workplace. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.