Over 60 incidents of violent pupils attacking teachers

Teacher attacks have caused alarmTeacher attacks have caused alarm
Teacher attacks have caused alarm
Violent pupils have attacked 15 teachers in the North Eastern Education and Library Board, which includes the Magherafelt District, in the past year.

There have been 66 such assaults since 2011 in local schools, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Education.

Across Northern Ireland as a whole, teachers have been attacked a full 423 times since 2009/11.

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The Education and Library Board area with the highest number of attacks on teachers in the past five years has been Belfast, where there were 62 attacks on teachers during 2009/10, another 31 the following year, 40 in 2011/12, 42 in 2012/13 and 32 this year.

However, the details provided do not include Voluntary Grammar and Grant Maintained Integrated schools.

Responding to the shocking figures, Education Minister John O’Dowd said teachers must be allowed to carry out their duties without fear for their personal safety.

“Assaults on teachers, or any other staff in schools, whether physical, verbal, written or electronic are intolerable, totally unacceptable and must be condemned”, he said.

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“All the key stakeholders in education must work together and stand together against any abuse or violence directed at the workforce. Teachers and support staff, and indeed pupils too, should feel secure and protected in the school environment.

“My department will continue to work with the employing authorities and teachers unions to explore ways of preventing violence and abuse against teachers and support staff who are subjected to it.”

The minister added that the education department will co-operate fully with the police with regard to any advice and recommendations about the protection of teachers.