*(Canada) Peel, Ont: Teachers face violent attacks by elementary school students

Sept 25, 2017, Mississauga, Ontario: VIOLENT ATTACKS ON GTA TEACHERS: ‘I’m afraid to go into the classroom’ Elementary school teachers and educational assistants in Peel say violent attacks by students have left them injured and fearful to go into classrooms. Just last week, Metroland Media Group reported that student attacks on teachers in Mississauga and Brampton are increasing, with more than 7,000 incidents last school year in Peel. “It’s my passion to teach children, but under the current environment I don’t feel safe,” said one elementary school teacher, who asked not to be named for fear she would lose her job or face repercussions. “I’m afraid to go into the classroom.” The Mississauga teacher, who wouldn’t say whether she wears protective gear to work for fear it would lead to her being identified, said last school year a special needs student attacked her in class. “He bit me on the arm and wouldn’t let go. I felt bad for him and I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “He has a right to be in school and a right to learn no matter what disability is there, but I also have to think about the safety of myself and the classroom.” An educational assistant in Peel who asked not to be named said there have been “multiple times” in the last three years where students have lashed out either through violence or loud, vulgar and threatening language. As reported last week, the issue of workplace violence on teachers in the GTA has become so alarming that many teachers and teaching assistants are going to work wearing protective equipment. The more than 350 workplace violence incidents reported by elementary school teachers in Peel last year, said Matthew Jackson, president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, Peel local, include teachers being bitten, kicked, scratched, punched and threatened. Some even required them to go to the hospital. In 2015/16, Peel elementary teachers reported 250 incidents of workplace violence.