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Bolshy boys and prickly parents ...

In a second SSTA survey in Fife, teachers report a daily catalogue of incidents. Margaret Smith, the union's local secretary, estimates that 80 per cent involved teenage boys.

"In the past parents were supportive. Now they are more likely to accuse the teacher of lying or making up stories," she says. "There is a tendency to blame the victim and say that if only teachers used the right strategy, things would improve. But the job is supposed to be about education not abuse or violence."

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