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Violent threats against Tasmanian principals highest in nation: survey

Posted December 03, 2015 11:37:51

A teacher gives instructions to her pupils in a classroom. Photo: The Education Union says it is unclear why rates of violence against Tasmanian principals are escalating so much. (Anne-Christine Pouloulat, file photo: AFP)

A national survey has identified 60 per cent of Tasmanian principals received violent threats this year, the highest price in the nation.

Nationally, the Australian Catholic University found one in 3 principals surveyed had experienced physical violence in their work.

In Tasmania, 114 principals completed the survey.

Their results showed rates of actual violence had increased from almost 27 per cent in 2011 to 42 per cent this year.

Terry Polglase of the Education Union told 936 ABC Hobart the figures had been worrying.

“There is a concerning trend, our price of improve of assaults is the greatest of other states,” he said.

“Appear it really is something that we want to look at – what has been causing this more than the final four years.”

He said in main schools the violence came mainly from parents and in high schools students have been far more likely to be the perpetrators.

“You have to appear, socially, appropriate across the board, what is causing that, you know, what is going on in Tasmania?” he mentioned.

“Also, we need to look at what is going on in our support of the schools, the [spending budget] cuts that occurred final year, you know when you take two teachers out of the schools, you put principals on classes and have them obtaining less time to deal with issues, meet with parents and so on, you know, men and women get angry.

“Undoubtedly for Tasmania we need to have to appear at the effects of what we are actually carrying out within our policies.”

Mr Polglase mentioned the physical school environment also left principals vulnerable to violence.

“The atmosphere isn’t precisely best is it? You know, open doors, stroll into the office, somebody is angry, we now take away glass dividers, we try and have open communication, we try to do all the right factors to guarantee we are as welcoming as possible inside our schools.”

The survey also asked principals who they turned to for help, such as spouses, colleagues, physicians and senior staff.

Mr Polglase said most principals would not turn to far more senior colleagues.

“They just will not admit to folks above them that there is an concern and as a result their pressure levels are via the roof and that is sad for a system, it says one thing really poor about the culture that is going on inside our systems and our schools, we like to say items are great but they are not,” he said.

Topics: assault, teachers, tas

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