Record of violence

14th February 2003 at 00:00
Punching, kicking, death threats and flying furniture: no it's not a drunken brawl but rather reported incidents at schools. Raymond Ross talks to teachers and union leaders about the increase in aggressive behaviour

In January 2002, head of biology Robert Ironside (above left) suffered a severe gash above his left eye when he was attacked by former pupil 18-year-old Stephen Wilkie (above right) at Inverurie Academy, in Aberdeenshire. Mr Wilkie and two friends, one a pupil, were drinking when Mr Ironside asked them to leave. The unidentified pupil threatened him with a broken bottle.

Mr Wilkie, who admitted having a drink and drugs problem, smiled as he walked out from a courtroom in November, having been given 12 months' probationary sentence for assault and breach of the peace. The pupil was not prosecuted.

In May 2002, Susan McBride, aged 43, a former principal arts teacher, told a conference of the National Association of Schoolmasters, Union of Women Teachers that she took early retirement in 2000 after being attacked in her classroom by a 16-year-old pupil and her 19-year-old brother. The boy shouted in her face and pulled a telephone out of the wall when she tried to call for help. When a janitor passed by, the boy headbutted him and bit through his finger.

The girl was suspended for 10 days.

Ms McBride said she received little support from her headteacher. She still sees a psychologist and has not been back to work since.

In December 2002, assistant headteacher Allan Mackintosh was punched on the head and needed five stitches to the wound when a gang of 20 youths tried to gatecrash an end-of-term party at Bishopbriggs High school in East Dunbartonshire. The youths got away.

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