Compass stabbing in catalogue of violence

28th March 2003 at 00:00
A TEACHER who was stabbed three times in the neck with a compass by a teenage pupil was one of nearly 1,000 teaching staff in the North-west to report that they had suffered abuse in only a fortnight.

A survey of 304 schools by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers revealed that 964 teachers claimed they had been physically or verbally abused within the previous two weeks.

The incidents included 838 cases of verbal abuse, 126 physical assaults, 62 sexual insults or threats and nine cases of racial abuse.

The largest number of cases involved 14-year-old pupils, although some attackers were as young as four and a handful of incidents involved parents. Boys were responsible for 81 per cent of the abuse overall, although girls were involved in a quarter of cases in secondary schools.

Examples of attacks included an incident where a female secondary teacher was stabbed three times in the neck with a compass by a 15-year-old girl.

The union said the incident, like many similar cases, had not been reported. Another secondary teacher tried to chastise a 15-year-old boy, only to hear him boast to other pupils that he had thrown stones at her house and given out her home address.

At least 33 of the cases in primary schools involved the word "fuck", including one assault where a nine-year-old boy punched and threw chairs at his female teacher and shouted: "I'll get my dad to fuck you."

Eamonn O'Kane, general secretary of the NASUWT, said the survey's worrying results demon-strated the need for schools to report abuse incidents and exclude the pupils responsible.

"The depressing reality is that many teachers in our modern schools have to put up with a persistent, high level of abuse which in any other profession would not be tolerated," he said.

Calculations by the Conservative party suggest that, if the figures are typical, teachers suffer more than 200,000 cases of physical abuse each year.

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said the Government had made it clear that violence against school staff should not be tolerated. He added that a recent poll of 2,000 teachers and heads showed that most felt behaviour had improved since last year.

The NASUWT and the Secondary Heads Association will be mailing joint advice to schools next week on the procedures and policies they should have in place for managing pupil behaviour.

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