Parental violence towards teachers on the up heads warn

Parental violence towards teachers on the up heads warn


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Staff have faced threats of death and axe attacks, as parental violence increases, heads warn

A teacher could be killed because of an increasing tendency for parents to resort to physical violence, heads warned today. 

Tim Gallagher, a school leader from Wolverhampton, speaking at the NAHT headteachers union annual conference, asked if it would take a death for the problem to be taken seriously.

Delegates said that physical and verbal attacks on teachers were “increasing in severity and regularity.” In one case staff were threatened with an axe.

The NAHT voted to call on government to protect teachers from physical, verbal and online abuse.

Mr Gallagher said: “Teachers and senior staff have all experienced ‘angry parent syndrome’ where a parent has stormed in raising fire and thunder looking for Mr A or Mr B who has had the temerity to deal with his or her child in a way  that he or she does not approve.

“This has often led to verbal or even physical abuse of staff." 

He said: "We must address ourselves to the problem as it is now. Do we need to have a death of a headteacher or a death of a senior member of staff like Jo Cox before we take this seriously?”

Michelle Sheehy, an NAHT member from Walsall said: “I believe the general public are totally unaware of the level of aggression sometimes on a daily basis. Two colleagues in a local secondary school to me have suffered racist and homophobic abuse and were then subsequently threatened with an axe.

“Another school that I am working with, in that school teachers leave in groups because they are afraid of violent repercussions from parents. It stops them from disciplining pupils in the way that they think they should.”

Another delegate said: “While I was on the playground waiting for the children to come into school a parent threatened to kill me. She later said she hadn’t said that she had ‘only threatened to punch my face in’ – so that is ok isn’t it?”

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We think body cameras could make a positive difference in schools by enhancing the existing use of video recordings though CCTV. Body cameras can be more effective than CCTV at protecting staff from aggression and violence by displaying footage in real time on the front facing screen. This has been shown to alter behaviour and deter aggression as it makes it clear a recording is taking place. Body cameras also record sound, which is not picked up by other static cameras, and is often vital in capturing an accurate snapshot of the atmosphere and intensity of incidents.

We have run a number of successful pilots in schools and PRUs in the UK and are looking for more schools who may find the technology useful.

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