Assaults and violence against teachers on the rise

Figures released this week in State Parliament show the number of assaults and physically threatening behaviour against public school teachers and principals has risen dramatically in the last year.

Shadow Education Minister Peter Rundle said figures, which were unearthed by Shadow Early Childhood Education Minister Donna Faragher in the Legislative Council this week, were confronting.

“In WA public primary and secondary schools, there were 2,756 incidents of assault or physically threatening behaviour against public school staff, including teachers, reported to the Department of Education in 2023 alone,” Mr Rundle said.

“This is up over 20 per cent from the 2,275 reported assaults and threats against teachers and school staff in 2022 and means an average of 13 violent incidents are being reported every single school day.”

Shadow Early Childhood Education Minister Donna Faragher said it was completely unacceptable that school staff were dealing with threats and violence in any form with the latest figures also revealing an increase in reported incidents against a school principal and/or deputy principal.

“In 2022, there were 933 reported incidents of assault or threatening behaviour directed at school principals or deputies and in 2023 this has increased to 1,175,” Mrs Faragher said.

“Disturbingly, 1,123 incidents in 2023 involved a weapon or physical object.”

Mr Rundle said hundreds of incidents resulted in medical assistance or were reported to the police.

“There were 730 incidents which required medical assistance, up from 577 in 2022, and 240 incidents which were so significant they were reported to police.”

Mr Rundle said the Opposition stood in solidarity with WA educators in calling for an end to violence in schools.

“No teacher, principal, education assistant or any other school staff member should be made to fear for their health and safety when turning up to work in WA public schools, and all students deserve to learn in a safe environment,” Mr Rundle said.

“It’s no wonder WA teachers are contemplating strike action when they are forced to deal with increasing violent behaviour and are among the lowest paid educators in Australia under the watch of Premier Cook and the Minister for Education Tony Buti.”