If You Respect Teachers, Please Stand Up

There is a growing hostility against teachers from the Government down, and children are picking up on it. There is little use reinforcing the message that respect for teachers is paramount to students whose own parents openly treat the classroom teacher with disdain. Teachers are not trusted to do their job, are having to write-up ludicrously long and detailed planners to prove they are covering the curriculum and are subjected to a distasteful smear campaign from elements within the educational system looking for someone to blame.

Why should we be surprised if children exploit the lack of respect for teachers within elements of society?

A STUDENT holds a replica pistol to the head of a staff member in the playground – while a Year 9 boy at another school sprays urine on his teacher.

These disturbing scenes are happening at schools across NSW, just two of 218 serious incidents logged during term four last year in reports to the Department of Education and Training.

The reports show teachers being abused, assaulted and sometimes forced to disarm out-of-control students during fights.

One student fight even featured a didgeridoo as an improvised weapon, while in another incident a pupil stole a teacher’s handbag and made off with her car.

Last November, a Year 8 student threatened a teacher with a replica pistol from the drama department at a south coast school. The deputy principal tried to intervene and was abused by the student.

Meanwhile, at an Illawarra school, a Year 9 student urinated into a bottle and sprayed it on a male teacher on playground duty.

Precise details of the schools, students and teachers involved are removed from the reports, which are published by the department with one-term delays.

A department spokesperson said nine in 10 schools did not report a single incident during term four.

“From time to time, incidents affect schools just as they affect society,” the spokesperson said.

Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said the number of violent incidents in schools wasn’t rising but were being noticed and documented “more vigorously”.

“Teenagers tend to be impulsive – all accelerator and no brakes,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.

“Violence as entertainment has desensitised teenagers and made them see violence as a problem solving device.”

He said another factor was teenagers becoming disaffected with rates of family breakdown increasing.

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