Violence in Schools: A Perspective
The issue of violent threats in their various forms is one I believe needing careful address. It’s the matter of “issue” rather than “individual incident” that needs careful consideration. The matter is not new – but rather has been ongoing over time.
From time to time the system and various support professional organisations have looked at the matter and considered process that might be taken into account when reacting to matters of threat. That to me is part of the problem; our system is “reactive” rather than taking a proactive role in engaging the matter.
Threat in its various forms is not new. However, responding to the matter seems to be one that causes embarrassment. Often Principals and staff members feel that to air issues occurring within the school organisations is tantamount to a profession of weakness. There seems to be a preference to manage within, making sure that word about problems does not get out. Over time there have been assaults levied against Principals and staff members where it seems that departmental management is to mute the issue almost in some sort of “we are guilty because it happened” fashion.
I think that issues of this nature have to be put right out into the public domain and addressed with responsible but justified professional aggression. “How dare they” ought to apply. The response being developed needs to have full system support and it ought not to be that recommendations on process point and direct the whole matter back to schools at the individual level to manage.
Members of student and parent communities do not have the right to inflict themselves upon teachers and other staff members in a violent, threatening or intimidating manner. Staff and principals deserve full departmental support against this sort of behaviour all the way to action through court processes. An “under the carpet” response is not acceptable.
Maybe during my time as a school educator I was lucky in not having these sorts of things thrust against me personally. I can promise that assaults directed toward my staff or myself would have been most vigorously pursued through courts.
No, I would not have felt weak all guilty about taking these actions because staff members and school principals deserve to be respected and protected.
I would hope that the issue going forward is addressed in an appropriate responsive and responsible manner.