Ontario: The union, which represents elementary school teachers in Ontario, says violence is being ‘normalized’ in schools and said it is squarely blaming Ford government for the deteriorating situation.
According to a survey, 77 percent of members of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) have either experienced violence on their own or witnessed violence against other staff members.
The survey was conducted between February and March 2023. According to ETFO, the reason for this violence is the low funding by the Ford government.
ETFO President Karen Brown said that due to the lack of proper investment by the Ford government in public education, education in schools has come to a standstill and violence is rampant.
Brown said that all this is happening due to excessive shortage of funds, non-completion of staff and non-fulfillment of the needs of the students.
He said that the province should provide the right environment for learning and working so that students and teachers can do their work peacefully and safely. 86 per cent of etfo members said they themselves have experienced violence or witnessed violence against a staff member. Four of the five members believe that the situation is getting worse. It was also said that there was a further increase in violence after the onset of the pandemic.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said his government was committed to investing in the mental health of students. “We understand that the demands are on the rise and the violence is also affecting our schools. That’s why the province has significantly increased funding for mental health,” he said.
He said the government is recruiting 2,000 frontline teachers and another $12 million in funds is being released for the semester starting September.
Ford also said that it is a matter of shame that killing a teacher or using violence against a teacher is still happening today. He said that the lesson of honesty comes to the children from home. Such incidents should be stopped.