Lack of policy and funding leaves teachers at risk from violent students
A lack of employer policies on how to deal with violent students and the continuing inadequate federal government funding for those with a disability is resulting in potentially dangerous situations for teachers and students.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said our union had been receiving an increasing number of calls from members expressing concern about managing violent students in their classes.
“While members understand and support inclusive education, they nevertheless have valid concerns about their safety and that of the other students in their care.
“They are frustrated at the inadequate levels of support provided by their employers in managing violent students and many of them have had to take sick leave, due to the stress of their situations.
“Unfortunately employers are failing to recognise that this situation requires serious consideration and policy development.
“In the latest round of Catholic collective bargaining for example, the employers have so far insisted that there is no need for a specific provision on the management of violent students in the agreement and that this is a matter which is best resolved at the local level.
“While employers must ensure inclusiveness within the school community, they must also fulfil their legal duty to provide staff with a safe workplace,” Mr Burke said.
Mr Burke’s comments came as a submission from the Australia Education Union (AEU) to the federal government’s review of disability standards for education called for the right to teachers’ safety to be considered and for more resources to be provided to schools and teachers to manage violent students.
Mr Burke said our union supported the AEU’s position.
“The latest Federal Budget made no attempt to correct the long standing problem of underfunding for students with a disability.
“Until the federal government recognises the needs of disadvantaged students and provides the additional resources needed to properly support them in the classroom, we will continue to have situations were these students’ frustration results in potentially harmful situations for both teachers and students,” Mr Burke said.
The review’s final report to government is due on 17 July.