(Canada) Durham, Ont: Special need "violence rising in elementary schools

A teacher with Durham District School Board wearing protective gear that helps prevent injuries if a violent incident occurs at the school. (CBC News/ Martin Trainor)

Sept 13, 2017, CBC News (Canada): Durham teachers want more special needs support, say violence rising in elementary schools A Toronto-area teachers union has launched a campaign seeking more classroom support for special needs students after members say they've witnessed an increase in violent incidents and the need for teachers to wear protective gear. "We're rolling out this campaign because of the dramatic increase in calls we've received and concerns that we've heard from members over the increase they've experienced of violence in their classroom," said David Mastin, president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario Durham Teacher Local. ... The survey of more than 2,700 members of which 791 responded indicated that there were more than 300 incidents of violence in 2016. "The bites and the scratches and the kicks and the punches — those have all happened on numerous occasions," said Mastin. "The worst example is one of our members had their head smashed against a desk by a student. They were off for a number of weeks, not just to recover physically but also psychologically." In order to help teachers protect themselves, the Durham District School Board (DDSB) provides teachers with protective gear like jackets with Kevlar-like inserts. ... The teacher, who didn't want her identity revealed because she's concerned it may affect her employment status, told CBC Toronto that a lot of the violence she sees in her classroom has to do with various special needs that students have. "It's not personal at all," she said. "I think that's hard for a lot of people to wrap their head around. [Special needs students] are struggling with their own needs and issues, and we just happen to be there."