Teachers Get Restraining Orders Against Violent, Abusive Parents
School teachers and principals are increasingly seeking restraining orders to manage physical and verbal abuse from irate parents.
School staff, including administration workers, are being subject to "horrendous" abuse -- including being threatened by weapons -- by parents, Australian Primary Principal Association president Malcolm Elliott told 10 daily.
"Members of the public would be shocked and amazed," Elliott said.
"The language, the abuse, the sheer ferocity of what's happening -- this kind of stuff is just horrendous."
A retired principal with almost two decades, Elliott said he's seen the escalating abuse faced by school staff at the hands of parents.
Figures from the annual Principal Health and Wellbeing report showed rates of violent threats skyrocketing by 45 percent in 2018.
Nearly half of principals received a threat, the report noted, with one in three experiencing actual violence.
"Principals and deputy/assistant principals experience far higher prevalence of offensive behaviour at work each year than the general population," it said.
Women are most at risk, with 40 percent experiencing violence compared to 32 percent of men.
Figures also show acts of violence against school staff occur at public primary schools at more than ten times the national average.
Parents being banned from primary schools due to court orders can throw the school pick-up into chaos, but Elliott described these as not the sort of person you'd feel comfortable having on campus.
"I've been along to courts to support teachers who have taken out restraining orders, and I've used them myself," Elliott said.
"The cases are of such a high level -- as I said, people would be shocked.
"The feeling [towards these parents] is, 'You're just not the sort of person who at the moment should be able to come along to a school because you're too unpredictable, and you can't behave like this'.
"It's a terrible role model for the children."
Some parents are under the influence of drugs and alcohol during this abusive behaviour, he said, but this doesn't apply to all perpetrators.
And although school principals have the right to ask someone to leave the campus, increasingly parents aren't listening.
Police provide support to schools, but can take anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours to arrive.
"This kind of behaviour can leave you shaken and distressed," Elliott said.
"In a way, you're ready for the unexpected, schools can be like that -- we're dealing with human beings and unpredictable things can occur, so you need to be able to manage in those circumstances.
"But you're not equipped to cope with a parent who launches this sort of stuff. It's just terrible."
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