Assaults and physical threatening behaviour against school staff continue to increase

May 12, 2022 | Donna Faragher MLC, State News

Figures released this week in State Parliament show a continuing high number of assaults and physical threatening behaviour against school staff in West Australian public schools.

Shadow Education and Training Minister Peter Rundle said the concerning figures released in response to parliamentary questions asked by the Opposition in the Legislative Council demonstrated that more support in schools was clearly needed.

“The Opposition continues to support the No Voice to Violence government campaign but it is clear more support is required across our schools to respond to the increasing number of assaults and physical threatening behaviour against school staff being reported,” Mr Rundle said.

“Our principals, teachers and school staff deserve a safe work-place and our students should be able to learn in an environment free from harm yet the figures show there continues to be a real problem.”

Shadow Early Childhood Learning Minister Donna Faragher, who asked the questions of the Education Minister in the Legislative Council, said the figures showed an increase in incidents of assault or physical threatening behaviour against public school staff between 2020 and 2021.

“Violence in any form is unacceptable so it is really concerning that between 2020 and 2021 reported incidents have increased from 2,163 to 2,577 and there is a continued trend upward in the number of incidents reported against school principals and deputy principals,” Mrs Faragher said.

“In 2021, 1,400 incidents against a school principal and/or deputy principal were reported and 1,060 incidents against staff involved a weapon or physical object.”

Mr Rundle said tackling violence in schools does require a community effort but principals, teachers and school staff clearly needed more support from the Education Minister.

“The McGowan Labor Government needs to get serious about dealing with this issue and if further improvements to policies and procedures are required or strengthened or if new measures are needed then it must be done.

“Today’s State Budget provides another opportunity for more support to be provided to our schools to keep our principals, teachers, school staff and students safe from harm.”