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Ontario English Catholic Teachers

Safer Schools for All

Addressing Violence and Harassment Against Teachers

Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools are excellent places for children to learn and grow. On the whole, our students perform incredibly well in their studies, while gaining values and social skills that will enable them to make positive contributions to their communities throughout their lives.

To make our schools the best that they can be, we must acknowledge when there are shortcomings. It is becoming increasingly evident that some students are not getting the support they need, which results in negative behaviours.

For several years, our Association has been raising the particular issue of violent incidents experienced by teachers – including everything from verbal harassment and threats, to physical assault, to incidents involving weapons. Our teachers have noticed these incidents increasing in frequency and severity, and they do not feel that policymakers and school administrators are taking the matter seriously.

The Association recently partnered with Pollara Strategic Insights, one of the country’s leading polling firms, to carry out a comprehensive survey of our teachers. The goal was to seek information that would illustrate the scope and scale of the problem, and make it clear to all Ontarians that violence in the classroom should be at the top of the education agenda. The data we have collected, some of which was released in July, confirms what we have been hearing from teachers across the province, in all of the publicly funded school systems: deficiencies in resources, training, and reporting procedures are failing some students, which is putting teachers, school staff, and classmates at risk.

The good news is that our survey data also point toward solutions. By fundamentally shifting how we think about and address incidents of violence, we can better serve the unique needs of each student, while keeping others in the school community safe from harm. Read the summary of our recommendations.

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