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Alberta Teachers’ Association report sheds light on aggression in schools

A startling new report from the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) is shedding light on the issue of aggression in schools. Titled “Aggression in Schools: A Comprehensive Examination,” the report underscores alarming trends and challenges faced by educators across the province.

Key findings from the report reveal a stark reality: 52 per cent of teachers reported they have experienced bullying or violence in their work environment. This aggression, most often occurring in-person (95 per cent) and initiated by students in teachers’ own classrooms (60 per cent), is a concerning trend that demands immediate attention.

According to teacher responses from the study, aggressive behaviour disrupts the learning environment, leaving both teachers and students feeling vulnerable and unsupported.

The report also delves into the impact of societal and cultural divisions, particularly evident post-pandemic. More than two-thirds or 71 per cent of teachers and school leaders reported they had witnessed students engaging in demeaning or hateful remarks toward peers with differing views, leading to hostile exchanges outside the classroom.

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These remarks — spanning topics including sexual orientation, gender identity, race, COVID-19 policies, and climate change science — reflect broader societal tensions permeating school environments.

Considering these findings, ATA is calling for urgent action to address aggression in schools. This includes comprehensive training programs for educators, enhanced support systems for victims, and a concerted effort to foster inclusive and respectful school cultures.

ATA President Jason Schilling says the safety of all Alberta teachers and students must be prioritized by government. “Our schools need to be a place where optimal learning environments are fully funded while ensuring safety, respect, and support.”

Teachers remain skeptical of the current measures in place to reduce aggression. Many note modifying classroom instruction to manage aggressive behaviour often leads to the loss of valuable instructional time.

Written by: Stan Ashbee – Vista Radio

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