McGowan Government must provide urgent response to address violence in schools

The Opposition Alliance is calling on the McGowan Labor Government to urgently respond to unacceptably high numbers of assaults and threatening behaviour directed at school staff across Western Australia’s public schools.

Shadow Minister for Education and Training Peter Rundle said while the latest figures showed a small reduction in the number of incidents between 2021 and 2022, there needed to be a continued and targeted focus by the government to make schools safe.

“The Opposition supports the Government’s campaign, No Voice to Violence, but these latest figures clearly demonstrate that more is required to support teachers and school staff,” Mr Rundle said.

Through questions asked by Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Donna Faragher it was revealed 2,275 incidents of assault or threatening behaviour against public school staff, including teachers, were reported through the Department of Education’s Online Incident Notification System in 2022.

“This includes 933 incidents of assault or threatening behaviour against a school principal and/or deputy principal,” Mrs Faragher said.

“Violence in any form is completely unacceptable.

“Principals, teachers, school staff and students should rightly expect that they are able to be at school and feel safe without the threat of any kind of violence or abuse.”

Mr Rundle said the more than 2200 incidents was disturbing.

“To have nearly 920 of those incidents involving a weapon or physical object and more than half (577) requiring medical assistance is alarming,” Mr Rundle said.

“We have an education sector that is crying out for more staff.

“Ensuring a safe workplace should be a high priority and it is clear the Education Minister needs to ensure more support is provided immediately.