Aug 4, 2018, Toronto Sun: Violence against teachers requires stern discipline https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/guest-column-violence-against-teachers-requires-stern-discipline Earlier this month, the Canadian Teachers Federation (CTF) released the results of its survey on violence against teachers, confirming physical and verbal attacks on teachers are reaching epidemic proportions. According to the CTF, rates of violence (verbal and physical) against teachers range from a disturbing 41% to an apocalyptically high 90%. Perhaps not surprising, the teachers most susceptible to violence were female teachers, as well as those working with special education students. Here in Ontario, a survey done last year by my union (Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association) found 60% of teachers have personally experienced violence on the job. Understandably, those who still harbour memories of orderly, respectful classrooms where the teacher’s authority was rarely, if ever challenged may wonder what is going on here. And yes, we should wonder whatever happened to the principal’s authority, that ominous disciplinary brick wall bringing temporal damnation to unruly disrespectful students. Well those days, at least for now, are over. As a society we have collectively chosen to substitute an older, substantive, authority centered learning system for more of a namby-pamby “student-centered,” no-fault, no-fail learning system. One that is naively top-heavy on empowerment of students but horribly lacking in student responsibility and consequences. And when it comes to discipline, today’s younger principals increasingly act more like “executive guidance counsellors,” mollycoddling aspiring student thugs and miscreants with meaningless inspirational “talks” rather than consequences. Even worse, these discipline-averse “hug-a-bully” principals are not at all above actively taking the side of the violent student or trying to rationalize student violence even when the evidence against the student is overwhelming….. But to imply that the chronic lack of these resources is the cause of the epidemic of violence against teachers is simply wrong..
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