Every week an average of three teachers and staff employed by the Education Department file workers’ compensation claims as a result of assaults in WA classrooms, reports the Perth Now. Overall, taxpayers footed a total bill of more than $32 million in workers’ compensation to education employees in 2011. Most were for physical stress, falls, slips and trips and mental stress. Education Department workforce executive director Cliff Gillam said almost half 88 of the 184 claims relating to assaults in 2011 happened in education support centres.
WorkCoverWA – teachers get knocked around
“The majority of the incidents happened in education support facilities where the actions of some students are unpredictable and possibly unintentional, however, result in a staff member being injured,” he said.
According to the latest statistics from the Education Department, 167 people filed 174 claims as a result of physical injuries sustained in an assault in 2011.
Another 10 people lodged claims for stress associated with exposure to workplace violence.
One employee lodged three claims as a result of assaults in a single year.
Five made two claims each in 2011.
The claims covered a range of injuries from fractures and dislocations to sprains, strains and superficial injuries, along with “multiple injuries and mental disorders”. In 2010, 165 people lodged 177 claims as a result of physical injuries, and eight people made claims for stress.
State School Teachers Union president Anne Gisborne said violence within education support centres should not be tolerated and violent students should be taught in “alternative settings”.
“There should be a zero tolerance to violence of any sort in schools whether it’s against teachers or students,” she said.
“These figures are very concerning and I think they suggest our education support centres aren’t resourced enough to deal with these issues,” he said.
Acting Education Minister John Day said principals reported that the independent public schools program had “revitalised schools”. [Yeah... right....]