Violence and bullying in schools
School anti-violence toolkit (April 2012) A resource to assist schools in developing and implementing effective anti-violence policies, practice and procedures
Violence in schools encompasses all incidents in which any member of the school community is subjected to abuse, threatening, intimidating or humiliating behaviour, or physical assault from a student, parent, staff member, Board member or member of the public.
This resource kit aims to provide teachers and schools with:
- Information on their legal rights and obligations in providing a safe school environment for all members of the school community.
- Analysis of the forms of violence that exist in schools, including bullying, racial harassment and sexual harassment.
- Illustration of the issues that may result for staff and schools from the various forms of bullying and harassment between different members of the school community.
- Guidelines on a whole school approach to developing effective anti-violence policies which will ensure full school community commitment and participation.
- Guidelines on developing effective strategies and procedures for use in preventing and managing incidents of violence, including complaints procedures, and provision for support services and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
- Information about assault and guidelines to follow if a staff member is assaulted at school. PPTA policy is that members follow these guidelines and report assaults on teachers to the police.
- A process for dealing with violent students and individuals who may meet the definition of “a hazard” under the Heath and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
- Resources to assist schools in developing and implementing anti-violence policy and practice.
Teachers - the new targets of schoolyard bullies? (Benefield, 2004)
This paper refers to both bullying and harassment of teachers. The School Anti-Violence Toolkit, published by the union earlier this year, used the umbrella term “violence” to cover all forms of bullying and harassment, and preferred the term “harassment” when discussing behaviour directed at teachers by students. However, teachers themselves are increasingly using the term “bullying” to describe the targeted aggressive behaviour they experience from both students and adults in schools. Andrea Needham, writing about workplace bullying, has commented: The definition of workplace bullying has become a point of discussion around the world as individuals, groups and governments research the problem and develop criteria, boundaries, guidelines and even legislation. (Needham, 2003)
Best practice behaviour management: A view from the literature (Patty Towl, 2007)
... Challenging behaviour from students, however, occurs on a daily basis both in the classroom and around the school. The behaviours range from talking out of turn, hindering other students, minor disruption, and lateness to class (Elton, 1989; Chaplain, 2003; Rogers, 2006; Balson, 1992) to verbal abuse, verbal intimidation and challenges to authority (Benefield, 2005). As early as the Elton Report (1989), these minor ongoing irritations and disruptions to classroom flow were described as “wearing”. The PPTA report (Benefield, 2004) described the targeted aggressive behaviour experienced by teachers in schools as “bullying” (p.1) While teachers differentiated between minor incidents that were repeated and single significant acts that had the effect of significantly endangering or undermining their wellbeing, they still described all these behaviours as bullying.