Public school student assaults: Cases are rising with teachers falling victim to attacks

SCHOOL DAYS: The number of student assault cases in the region is going up. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK
SCHOOL DAYS: The number of student assault cases in the region is going up. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

THE number of assaults in public schools are soaring, with incidents up by 62 per cent in the past 12 months, with one education expert blaming it on violence in technology and society.

Fifty teachers across the Central West have been assaulted by their own students so far this year, data from the NSW Department of Education (NSWDE) shows.

While the total number of assaults in the region has spiked by 62.3 per cent - from 167 in 2018 to 271 this year.

The data, which is broken down by school district, reveals the Bathurst Principals Network (which includes Blayney and Oberon schools) had the highest number of assaults at 45 which was more than the 33 recorded during 2018.

Of this year's assaults, 40 were student-on-student and five were for a student assaulting a teacher.

The Lithgow network (which includes Kandos) has had 37 assaults this year including six on teachers.

Kids are seeing violence - it's on the sporting field, in video games or at home and then they believe this is how you behave.

NSW Secondary Principals Council president Craig Petersen

The highest number of teachers attacked this year was in the Macquarie region (which includes Dubbo and Narromine) where there were 33 assaults which left 14 teachers injured by students.

In Orange, 32 assaults have been recorded including seven on teachers, while 20 have occurred in Mudgee including three on teachers.

NSW Secondary Principals Council president Craig Petersen blamed the high number of assaults on the depiction of violence in movies, video games, news media and in society.

GRAPH: Story continues below

"Kids are seeing violence - it's on the sporting field, in video games or at home and then they believe this is how you behave," he said.

"It normalises the behaviour and some kids will model that behaviour."

Mr Petersen said in his 30-plus years in education he has seen students change and these days there was "sense of entitlement".

"Kids will say 'you can't tell me what to do'," he said.

"Parents are feeding into the problem because increasingly they want to be their child's friend, not their parent."

A NSWDE spokesman said there was a zero-tolerance policy for violence, bullying, harassment or assault and public schools were among the safest places in the community.

"Principals take strong action when inappropriate behaviour interferes with the safety of the school community," he said.

Principals take strong action when inappropriate behaviour interferes with the safety of the school community.

NSW Department of Education spokesman

"Any student involved in violence or who engages in criminal behaviour at school may be suspended and their parents are notified. Police are also informed if necessary.

"Support provided to students or staff affected by violent behaviour, includes access to counselling, support for returning to school and referral to other agencies."

The Catholic Education Diocese of Bathurst was contacted for this story, however, a spokeswoman said assault data was not readily available.

"Each situation involving some kind of assault is handled individually with a case management approach to learning and behavioural issues at an operational level.

"There are a number of policies and strategies in place to ensure the appropriate support is provided to all parties involved, with a range of internal and external expertise and services utilised depending on the circumstances and needs of the individual case.

"It is not possible to speak generally about such cases, as each is unique and may require very different approaches."

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This story Student assault cases are rising with teachers falling victim to attacks first appeared on Lithgow Mercury.