School violence alert

18th February 2000 at 00:00
THE Education Minister remains concerned about under-reporting of violence against school staff and is sending new guidelines to local authorities.

Last session, the first time that all councils gave figures, 1,898 cases were reported. That was up from 743 the previous year when authorities responsible for a fifth of all pupils failed to respond to the first of the annual surveys.

The Executive is keen both to discount notions o a dramatic rise and to uncover cases teachers fail to log. Sam Galbraith said the aim was to turn every school into a "violence-free zone".

Councils last year reported 245 incidents per 100,000 pupils. Just over half involved physical violence. Fewer than 3 per cent involved damage to personal property.

Parents accounted for 144 incidents and former pupils for 21. School staff lost 187 working days through violence.

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