Violence in elementary schools across the Durham Region is escalating, and in response the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Durham Teacher Local (ETFO Durham) has launched ‘Safe Schools for All’, a public-awareness campaign designed to inform and educate parents, guardians and the community about this growing issue, and call upon the provincial government to recognize its severity in order to implement an effective solution.
- According to reports submitted in-school, directly to ETFO Durham and via a 2016 Survey of more than 2,700 members there were more than 300 incidents of violence in 2016.
- As of March 26, 2018, ETFO Durham members have reported 511 violent incidents in the 2017-2018 school year.
- Children aged anywhere from three to 14 years old have witnessed acts of verbal or physical assault, sometimes daily.
- Learning is routinely disrupted for ‘learning walks’ a term used to describe classroom evacuations due to violent incidents.
- Some teachers have indicated that they have been required to wear, or had the option to wear, Kevlar, personal protective equipment – a band-aid attempt to address violence as opposed to a solution.
- A full formalized review of the special needs funding formula, which ensures equity in access to learning for all students, has not taken place in more than 10 years with funds still being allocated based on projected demographics instead of actual need. Learn more about special needs funding in Ontario.
- Ontario schools support an integrated classroom model – Learning for All – meaning that children learning at all levels and with unique learning patterns are together in a classroom. However, not all students who require additional support from education assistants or child and youth workers are receiving it.
What we can do
- It is important to bring awareness to this issue through talking, sharing information and engaging in open discussion to ensure the provincial government recognizes and addresses its severity.
- Learn more about the overall Building Better Schools initiative initiated by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. There are many ways to become involved in the long-term vision for a better elementary school system across the province that will ensure our schools give students what they need to succeed.
- Follow, like and share information about the Safe Schools for All campaign with your social media networks.
- Contact your local Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) to encourage the acknowledgement of this issue at a provincial level.
- Volunteer with, and donate to, local politicians as they work to improve school funding & social services.
Check out the campaign’s coverage in the media Media Coverage