- Class war: Teachers push for security cameras
- By WES HOSKING
- Herald Sun
- Contributed by: Bewitched ( 29 articles in 2014 )
MORE than half of Victorian teachers want extra CCTV-style cameras in schools amid escalating reports of physical violence, verbal threats and vandalism, new figures suggest.
As the school year begins, a statewide survey shows three-quarters of teachers have experienced some form of violence from students - a spike from 55 per cent in just four years.
What do you think? Would cameras help? Who should pay for them? Have your say in the comment box below.
And more than half have been subjected to verbal abuse or physical threats from parents.
The results are revealed in a Herald Sun survey of more than 860 educators statewide.
READ MORE COMMENTS FROM OUR TEACHERS SURVEY HERE
Teachers warned they were fed up with problem parents sticking up for the bad behaviour of their kids.
"Disrespectful and hateful students are coming through, not because of their schools, but because of how society is progressing," one said.
"There is a general lack of respect towards teachers that needs to be addressed," said another.
"Too many teachers are exposed to aggressive parents and not enough support is given."
Australian Principals Federation president Chris Cotching said cameras would be an "absolute deterrent" for violent mums and dads.
The union is pushing for cameras in all school foyers but believes they are not necessary in classrooms because parents are the biggest troublemakers.
Mr Cotching said some aggressive parents vowed they would "get" school staff following verbal arguments while others got physical.
"In the last three or four years it's really ramped up,'' he said.
"This sort of stuff is not uncommon - unfortunately more common than we like.
"We just think the cameras are one way of at least making these people a bit accountable."
Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said student behaviour and difficult parents usually became an issue when schools didn't have the resources to deal with them.
"You shouldn't get to a point where you need cameras if you actually are able to provide support and programs that meet the needs of your school community,'' she said.
Parents Victoria executive officer Gail McHardy said: "Cameras might act as a deterrent to some students but it may encourage others to test the boundaries even more."
The survey, conducted by Galaxy Research across all school sectors in December last year, found 55 per cent of respondents wanted more CCTV-style cameras to increase security.
Just over a third didn't support the move and one in 10 didn't know.
Support was 63 per cent among secondary educators and 47 per cent at the primary level.
Education Department spokesman Stuart Teather said the Government was developing further training and support to help principals prevent conflict and de-escalate situations.
Schools made their own decisions regarding CCTV which was generally used to curb vandalism or burglaries.
"There is no place for aggressive and threatening behaviour in Victorian schools,'' Mr Teather said.
"A handful of schools have chosen to install cameras in foyers to deter aggressive behaviour from parents and visitors.
"These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and are only used in specific circumstances."