Security guards are no answer;Letter

26th January 1996 at 00:00
You report (TESS, January 19) on comments made by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers about pupil behaviour, and the need to protect school staff against violence. Various proposals are refereed to, including the provision of policy and security guards at "potential flashpoints". Your final paragraph quotes the Educational Institute of Scotland and Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association as having raised "similar concerns" about staff protection.

I should like to make it clear to your readers that while we do share concern about violent incidents in schools, and are currently examining ways of dealing with disruption and indiscipline in schools, we do not necessarily share the views of the NAS on remedies.

Our recent policy paper on personal safety did remind the local authorities and our members that a teacher who is assaulted by a pupil, parent or other person has the right in law to report the matter to the police. It is not the right of a headteacher or local authority manager to make this decision.

We also called upon local authorities to improve security of access to schools. At no time, however, did we advocate that police or security guards should be on hand in schools.

The SSTA is pleased that the Scottish Office is showing real interest in the problems, and we will be very willing to participate in any working groups which are seeking positive solutions which will protect teachers and the majority of pupils against the extreme behaviour of a few, but which will also investigate the underlying causes of disruptive behaviour and seek remedies beyond merely shutting young people out from the education system.

ALAN LAMONT

Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association

Edinburgh

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