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Teachers suffering from PTSD amid rising pupil violence, union warns

’We deal with teachers who have been assaulted and go to hospital with broken bones.’

Neil Pooran
Tuesday 20 February 2024 09:39 GMT
A generic image on schoolchildren walking to class
A generic image on schoolchildren walking to class (PA Wire)

Teachers are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and ending up in hospital with broken bones due to increasing levels of violence they face at work, a union leader has said.

David Besley, assistant secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), said teachers are also ending up with PTSD due to violent incidents.

It comes as three teachers in Aberdeen spoke to the BBC anonymously about their concerns around pupil attacks.

The EIS is calling for the city council to take action.

In November, a report from the union warned pupil violence has increased over the last four years and 82.7% of schools were reporting violent or aggressive incidents each week.

Mr Besley told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “We deal with teachers who have been assaulted and go to hospital with broken bones.

“And that’s without, of course, the post traumatic stress disorders and the effects on teachers’ mental health after long-term dealing with very aggressive situations in classes.”

He said there is a need to accept that behaviour has got worse, with a number of factors potentially contributing to it.

These included staff shortages, the influence of social media and the impact of the pandemic, he said.

One of the teachers who spoke to the BBC said she is “scared in my workplace” while another said an incident had left her with a concussion.

Aberdeen city council education convener Martin Greig said feedback from staff would be considered.

He told the BBC: “Everyone who visits and uses a school environment is entitled to expect that place to be a safe, peaceful, respectful environment.

“So any complaints that come through need to be addressed, in the interests, especially of the young people, but also of staff, families, anyone who is involved in the life of a school.”

He added: “Behaviour in schools is monitored, there are policies and procedures to make sure staff are as safe as possible.

“There’s always more that you can do, and we are absolutely keen to do whatever is necessary to ensure that environment feels safe for all, for staff, for parents and carers and especially for the young people.”

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