Wednesday, May 10, 2017

‘They’re not safe’: Durham teacher speaks out about classroom violence

Safety in the classroom has been an ongoing concern for educators in Durham Region, but now some feel the situation has reached a breaking point.

“I was punched in the head multiple times in one week,” Jennifer, a front line teacher with the Durham District School Board, said, adding some of the children who initiated physical contact have been as young as seven or eight years old.

“It’s just not OK for anyone to hit, kick, spit, punch other kids, other adults in the building … teachers, EAs, principals.”

Global News has agreed to withhold Jennifer’s real identity as she said she feels speaking out could mean losing her job.

Jennifer works in an integrated classroom where students with special needs and those without are in the same class.

She said she has heard similar stories from other Durham schools, where teachers and educational assistants have been issued Kevlar-like jackets and shin pads.

Jennifer said she hasn’t received training and hasn’t been told how to wear the protective equipment. She said she has accumulated several reports over a six-month period of incidents she has witnessed or experienced.

“I’m afraid to go into the classroom — imagine what (the students) are feeling … It’s supposed to be the best time of their lives,” she said.  (more...)

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