Are teachers facing too much violence in schools?

Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: violence in schools

This week, an Ottawa teacher spoke out after being viciously attacked by a student in his school. He joins a growing number of teachers across the country who say they have experienced physical violence or harassment in the classroom.

Hair pulling. Chair throwing. Scissors flying. Choking. Biting. Spitting. Bloody noses. Concussions.

It may sound like a particularly animated evening of prime-time professional wrestling.

But no, those are incidents and injuries reported by teachers. Not only student-on-student attacks, but teachers suffering violence at the hands of their students.

What do you think? Is teaching becoming a dangerous profession? Hard data is scarce, but one survey of Ontario Catholic school teachers this year found 60 per cent of teachers have experienced some type of violence.

Some school boards dispute suggestions violence is on the rise, others have begun to issue protective gear to teachers, jackets with light Kevlar inserts that also include leg and arm guards, even face shields. Is that the solution?

What more can be done to keep teachers and students safe? Should all teachers receive training on how to deescalate violence? Are students with special needs and behavioural issues getting enough support… or do schools need to hire more educational assistants, child and social workers, psychologists?

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How ‘the Art of Math’ is raising grades and eyebrows


In a province obsessed with improving the way it teaches math, a new program at a London, Ont. high school that bundles art and math together is not only raising grades, but eyebrows.

“The Art of Math” is a grade nine program at Oakridge Secondary School developed by the head of the school’s visual art department, Laura Briscoe, and math teacher and student achievement leader Jenni Van Kestren.

The two women believe its the first time in the history of the Ontario public school system that both subjects have been taught together, simultaneously.

“Basically what we’re trying to encourage is a deeper understanding of both disciplines and encourage students to realize that in the real world, nothing happens in isolation and how you can find different connections between different things, for example art and math,” Briscoe said.

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