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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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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