Is there a problem in our schools?

One parent thinks so, and says others should speak out in support of changes

A brief comment in the news last week caught my eye.  Pat, a retired school teacher, asked Premier Kathleen Wynne about violence in our schools, claiming teachers and students are frightened for their safety.

It was frankly satisfying to hear that question asked.  You may recall it was five years ago when Lambton Shield first broke the shocking story about the outrageous state of Ontario’s education system HERE. And since that time the subject has been broached by some big names;  CBC News, Global TV, the Toronto Star… heck Kathleen Wynne was even asked a question about it in Question Period last year.

Despite the press, the Ministry of Education has done little except fiddle while our education system burns.

This includes schools right here in our own little corner of utopia,  Sarnia Lambton.

Why has no one done anything?  Why do our Toronto politicians, who caused most of this mess, not have the intestinal fortitude to fix it?

Sigh.  As always, if we want something done, we’re going to have to do it ourselves.

The first step is exposing what exactly is going on.  And it ain’t pretty.  Here, have a listen.

“Most people would be stunned at what is happening in our schools,”  a teacher with more than 25 years experience told me.  “Think of what elementary school was like when you were a kid.  It’s nothing like that today,” said another.

Wowza.   If that sounds pretty major, hold on, its about to get worse.

I’ve spoken with close to 100 people; most of them teachers but also principals, school kids, and parents.  I’ve received emails from teachers all over Ontario, probably from every school district in Southwestern Ontario.

And son of a gun, they all tell the same story.

We learned last time that very little “teaching” goes on in Ontario’s elementary schools, it’s mostly babysitting.  Let’s see what teachers are saying about violence in our schools.

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the public school system you are sending your children to:

—Teachers are told to “f**k off” and threatened on a daily basis, with little or no punishment given.

—Students steal and destroy things from the teacher’s desk or their fellow students, all with no repercussions.

—Ontario teachers are hit, punched and bit at school, with little, if any, discipline for the assailant. And certainly no apology.

—Teachers have scissors and chairs thrown at them.  SCISSORS!  In any other place in Ontario that would get you arrested, in Ontario schools it gets you returned to the same teacher’s class the very next day.

—Teachers have witnessed innocent kids get punched, hit and slapped by “bad kids”.  One student smashed little girl’s head off the wall so hard it nearly broke her jaw.  Why did he do this?  Because he didn’t like the fact that the teacher opened the window.   That student is still in the same class as that little girl.

More than one teacher has told me they had to lock their classroom door and stand against it while a student was trying to get in, saying he was going to beat up/kill another student in the class.

If a child doesn’t want to come in off the playground after recess, they don’t have to.  Schools have a hands-off policy so no one will be carrying little Billy into the school.  The school could call home but parents were told by the government to butt out of education long ago, so parents now believe their bad child is the school’s problem.  What to do?  The school will assign staff to simply stand and watch them.

What if little Billy decides to run away?  (This is a daily event in some classes)  No one from the school can stop them.  If the student leaves school property, the school calls the police.  (This is a weekly and sometimes daily event in many schools).  Since most schools are located on a street or roadway of sorts, isn’t there a chance a runaway grade one or grade two student might get hit by a car?  Kidnapped?  Lost?  Of course. But apparently that’s not the Ministry of Education’s worry.

What a great system!

Seriously, I want you to tell me if that sounds like a safe place to work?

Is this the kind of school you thought you were sending your kids to?

Oh, and exactly how much learning do you think kids in these schools are getting?

Every school does not have all these elements of course, but teachers were almost unanimous in saying that schools all have at least some of these situations. MANY more than most parents know.

Yes right here in Lambton County.

Still not convinced?

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) just released its Workplace Survey Results, and guess what?   Their findings back up mine 100%.

  • 70% of elementary teachers witnessed violence or have been a victim
  • 79% say the number of violent incidents has risen
  • 75% say the severity has increased
  • 84% of teachers say it has negatively impacted teaching

EVERYTHING we have been saying!

Most people would be stunned at what is happening in their child’s school.

Our dear leader, Kathleen Wynne, said at the Ottawa town hall meeting that any violence at school is “unacceptable.”   Apparently, she isn’t looking very hard.  (Would someone please be a dear and send her a copy of this column?)

If violence is unacceptable why are teachers, students, and educational assistants (EA’s)  across the province experiencing it?

What happened to the Harassment Policy the Ontario government was so proud of a few years ago.  Does it not apply to Teachers or our children?

What about the rule of law?  Is there some sort of invisible boundary line surrounding schools that says normal laws don’t apply here?  Feel free to hit, kick, assault and threaten anyone, no charges laid?

Name me ANYWHERE else in Ontario you could do this?

You can bet you’d be in handcuffs if you treated Kathleen that way.

But our teachers and our children don’t have a group of police officers surrounding them all day.

Many teachers tell me that the EA’s in the classroom bear the brunt of this violence.  They don’t have police escorts either.

So why are we letting this happen?

Several of the teachers I talked to said things really got worse about 10 years ago or so.  I’m not sure what changed, and I’m all for trying out new ideas in our school system, but I think the verdict is in.  The current system is a complete disaster.

Isn’t our Premier all about science?  I would say 10 years of evidence screaming at you seems like it’s a pretty open and shut case that things are failing.  So why isn’t the Premier and the Minister of Education doing something about this?   If they don’t know the health and safety of thousands of students and teachers are being ignored every day, then they are either incompetent or ignoring it.

So what to do?  David Martin from the Durham teachers union was interviewed by Global News a while ago and he hit the nail on the head.  He said nothing will change until the public is aware of what is going on.

Dave is a wise man.

Our teachers and EA’s can’t do it alone.  The union can’t do it alone.  The media, Town Halls and Question Period can’t do it alone. But with a big push from all of us, we can get it done together.

I don’t want my daughter to come home from school tomorrow with a broken jaw.  I don’t want her to see her teacher get stabbed with a pair of scissors.   Let’s make the government hear us.  Here are some practical steps:

Share this article on Facebook (and any others you find, this isn’t just the Matt show.)

Know any teachers or parents with kids in school?  Ask them to share it too.  I know it sounds lame: “Let’s talk about it on social media”—but there’s only one thing the Ministry of Education fears, and it’s a good old-fashioned parental revolt.  An angry social mob of parents demanding change.

“Nothing will change until the public is aware of what is going on.”

—Email your MPP. I’m not sure there’s much they can do at the moment, but we might as well let them know we’re coming so they can get on our side.

Any teachers or school staff who have a story to add to the above, I would love to hear from you.  All emails will be kept confidential.  mmceachran@gmail.com

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  • Sarnia

    This is the same click bait panic material you shared in your opinion piece about how a school shooting is imminent in Lambton county. This over dramatic portrayal of our school system is frankly ridiculous. Kids get punished. Never once during my time at an Ontario public or high school did I see a student threaten a teacher, make contact with a teacher, or avoid punishment if they acted out in class. You have not spent a minute in these schools and in this article admit that many of the problems you listed did not occur in Lambton County. Instead of sensationalizing a problem that doesn’t exist, why not talk about an actual issue plaguing our community? Like the terrifying rate of teen suicides we have experienced. Labelling anyone as a “bad kid” is a slippery slope that inevitably leads to the child accepting it as their identity. We need less goofballs looking for someone to blame and more people supporting ours kids. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am reading the second article in a month about how terrible our kids are. Why don’t we look for a solution instead of foaming at the mouth about the problem? Stick to reporting the news. Not this shameful “journalism” designed to ignite controversy.

  • MK

    Sorry, but you certainly don’t have a real perspective of the current educational classroom. It may be the minority of students but the lack of respect, threatening behaviour, inappropriate language and violence is an almost daily real challenge that everyone in education deals with. Additionally there is almost no consequences for inappropriate behaviour regardless of the severity of the act. Talking about the problem creates a path towards change.

  • Cindy Mackenzie

    This couldn’t be further from sensationalism. If anything it downplays the reality. Violence is daily, education comes second to behaviour in our current system and it is completely and utterly out of hand. I’m not a teacher, just a witness and I am appalled at the state in our classrooms. This is not my opinion it is 100% factual reality. I’m guessing your time in the classroom was not recent. It is ridiculously common to have kids throw chairs, bite and kick their teachers. Yeah they get removed from the room (if they want to because let’s be real, without being able to touch them they have to choose to walk out of the room) to “cool down.” If parents are actually called, most don’t bother to answer the phone, so the child goes back to the class. A friend had 6 special needs kids in her class last year. 6!!! 5 of those special needs were behavioral. If each of those 5 kids had 1 bad day a week…. almost zero learning was accomplished. The classrooms you speak about are a unicorn.

  • Sarnia

    This is sensationalism personified Cindy. This article suggests that no student, no matter how egregious the act, gets punished… ever. That is sensational. A place where teacher’s feel powerless and have no authority in the classroom. Sensational. I am a recent graduate of a LKDSB school, Go Vikings, and this is not the environment that I completed my public and secondary schooling in. Kid’s get punished. Sorry Mr. McEachern, but punishment still exists for, as you so like to label them, “bad kids.” Also, lets not pretend that allowing teachers to forcibly remove students from class is a good idea. If my child was forcibly escorted from a classroom I would be furious and I assume you would be too if your child was.

    In my experience the classroom you speak about is the unicorn. 5 children with behavioral issues in the same room? Not a very common occurrence. Also, what constitutes ridiculously common? Mr. McEachern would have you believe that this kind of outburst happens to every teacher, in every class, every day. In Lambton County, this simply is not the case. MK I agree that teachers should be shown much more respect by today’s student, however, to suggest that teachers are routinely threatened, assaulted, and intimated by students on a daily basis is farcical. As a student who received the majority of their education during the last 10 years in Sarnia, I must say, the classrooms portrayed by Mr. McEachern are not the classrooms I was educated in. The students portrayed by Mr. McEachern do not reflect the peers I had in these schools. The teachers portrayed by Mr. McEachern are not the ones that I had the pleasure to learn from. Now for my opinion, the problem with our schools is that our students are committing suicide. The problem is young people taking their own lives. Maybe instead of labeling kids bad or good we should seek to support and understand them. Maybe the solution to the two problems lays hand in hand. This is the problem we should be talking about MK, not who’s to blame for a perceived lack of discipline in our schools.

  • Amanda J McMahon

    I agree with this article there is a problem with abuse in schools but for it to change adults have to actually follow through with things like the antibullying law bill 14 that was passed. Kids need to learn that they have repercussions for their actions just like adults.

  • Mark

    You should go out and talk to some teachers then. Or read the reports. Also. This article isn’t “foaming at the mouth”.. it’s quite tame (unlike your response here which is wrought with hyper emotional response). I’m curious as to what makes you so confident these things don’t happen here? I’m curious…. what are your kids like in school?

  • Jacqueline Smith

    Thank you for posting this response. I agree that this article is an exaggeration. It also takes a complex situation and tries to simplify it by vilifying children and offering no solutions. There is a problem in Ontario schools -they are not designed to meet the needs of today’s children. This article does not address the underlying problems with our education system.

  • Cindy Mackenzie

    I don’t disagree that suicide is a problem that needs addressing, but that doesn’t mean that this issue whether you’ve experienced or not does not also need addressing. As for no punishment ever, no that is not the case, however it’s not appropriate punishment for the severity of the actions. A 10 minute cool down and talk is not strong enough for spitting at, hitting or biting. Maybe the first time? (Really not even then but I’ll be generous.) Suspensions sometimes do get handed down, not frequently and usually as a last ditch effort, but all it takes is for the parent to call and complain and the child is back the next day. Suspension reversed. You’re correct I don’t love the idea of a teacher grabbing my kids but if they were going to run off school property, refused to come in at recess, or were to ever start throwing chairs etc. I wouldn’t be opposed to a wrist grab within reason. I tried to find statistics on the average number of special needs kids per classroom because yes 5 behavioral seems high, but I bet 2 min. is very common but I couldn’t find anything. Maybe they purposely don’t report those numbers and I can only go by my experiences. I would like to say that in my sister’s children’s school (not a Thames Valley district) they are swift and strict with their punishment and anti-bully policy. Bullying the first time, even verbally gets you a suspension and if there’s ever a third then expulsion is on the table. It is an upper class area with above average resources and parent participation however. I’ll leave whether that is a factor open for debate. I’m glad you’ve had positive experiences, I assume in smaller communities these issues wouldn’t be as prominent as they are within larger more congested/diverse areas. 30% of the people surveyed shared your experience. But please remain open to the 70% who do not, and don’t write it off as non-existent or sensational because it isn’t your experience. Just like your concerns for suicide, and yes as you said possibly related in some way, this is also an actual real issue.

  • Matt Mc

    Doesn’t exist? Lol Apparently you’ve been in hiding.

    Anonymous poster, I’m glad you went to a good school, I really am.
    Unfortunately your single experience is drowned out by the deluge of teachers and parents who confirm and add to the list of violence in my column. Here’s one email I received this morning: “I see this violence everyday. I have been bitten, punched, kicked and told to F**k off. My conversation with parents usually ends with me being blamed, not their child. I’ve seen children full out punch other children, even strangle them. It’s scary every day.”

    I’ve heard from way too many teachers, EA’, kids and parents. Its happening. And it’s happening right here in Sarnia Lambton. You don’t have to like it but you shouldn’t be so afraid of checking into it before opening your mouth

  • Matt Mc

    I agree and your comments are 100% accurate with the stories I am hearing

  • Matt Mc

    You are bang on, Mark! In fact some of the most “sensational” stories I couldn’t publish due to privacy.

  • Lori-ann Jones

    For some of the people who think this article is a gross exaggeration, let me be the first to congratulate you on not having your child endure this kind of violence, I’m assuming that you are a parent with children in our school system of course. This article describes my 11 year old daughter’s year in grade 7 exactly! There were students that would get into fist fights, throw computers, scissors, spew profanity at the teacher, flip desks, go on any websites they choose, threaten other kids etc. Rather than talking about actual school work and activities at least once a week my daughters school day debriefing would include some sort of incident regarding the principal or other teachers coming to the class to remove a student (s) and at one point the students were actually told to hide under their desks. Finally after having faith that the school would eventually help the situation improve these behaviors seemed to become more frequent, especially when my daughter laughed one day and said “good thing I’m quick or the keyboard would have hit me in the head “I thought to myself, this is ridiculous and seems to be a “normal school day” for my kid!!!! The breaking point for me was that the next day after the kids had to hide under their desks to dodge flying objects the culprit was in the class the following day!!! My daughter actually phoned me from school that morning and said “he’s starting to act up AGAIN mom and I can’t deal with this today” she wanted to leave. I went in to talk to the principal and asked him what he’s doing to ensure my daughters safety and why is this kid even allowed back? His response was that the incident happened toward the end of the previous day and they did not have the time yet to review.what exactly happened. I already knew from all the previous incidents that there would be no recourse and my daughter would have to “learn” to adjust. I contacted some other parents and they took their kids out that day also until they could investigate. By now I’m sure your anxious to know what the outcome or resolution was…..it was an in house suspension and I was told to be understanding that some of these kids don’t have the best home life. I could go on for hours but I think Matt said it all! My mission today for telling my story was to put it out there that it is happening more and more…and there needs to be a change. NO kids do NOT get punished!

  • Amanda J McMahon

    I am sorry your daughter went through that! I pulled mine out of school to homeschool at 6 years old because she was constantly coming home with bruises and the final straw was her being held down and choked by a grade 8 student who had zero repercussions in a school system that is supposed to be zero tolerance for abuse and bullying.

  • Erin Sewell

    There are many classrooms where this doesn’t happen, but there are many other classrooms where it does. When I started teaching 18 years ago, students with significant learning needs usually had at least a part-time EA to help them learn. Now, they only get an EA if they are a danger to themselves or others – and sometimes not even then. The result is that students with complex learning needs but only minor behaviour issues (for example, running out of the class or tearing up their work when they are frustrated) are not getting enough help. They’re frustrated more often and the behaviours come up more. Their teachers are trying desperately to continue to meet the needs of those two or three students in the class, meaning everyone else gets less attention to compensate. There isn’t enough of me to go around most days. This is standard, and we make it work pretty well overall, but it’s stressful for everyone.

    Then you get the classes where there IS a significant behaviour issue. Even my sweet little suburban school has a couple of kids everyone knows are a danger to others. Teachers have to evacuate their classrooms of all the other students to protect them from the one who is trashing their classroom. Often, there is a safe intervention plan in place but not enough personnel in the school to actually implement it. And of course if the student does have enough EA support that their behaviour improves, the lack of further bad behaviour will probably result in them losing some of that support the following year. It’s a yo-yo as each teacher and LRT and principal tries to work the system well enough to get the EAs needed to staff the school with minimal, never mind optimal, safety.

    Want to know why teachers are taking more sick days? It’s because they’re dealing with rising stress and PTSD on the job as violent kids are continually left to them to deal with.

  • Sarnia

    Lol? I’m talking about teen suicide being the biggest problem in our schools Mr. McEachern. I fail to see the humor.

    I’m a recent graduate. I’ve been “hiding” in the same classrooms you’re depicting as war zones. I’m an anonymous poster, sure, but all your sources and examples are anonymous as well. If I sent you an email depicting my experiences in class it wouldn’t feature in this article because you’ve made your mind up. You should look at the problem as a whole in much greater depth before “opening YOUR mouth” Mr. McEachern.

    I do not deny that I have seen students disrespect teachers, and honestly agree that more strict punishment would benefit students, teachers, parents, etc. However, to suggest no form of punishment is ever applied is quite simply, Mr. McEachern, incorrect. When was the last time you were actually in one of these classrooms? I think our schools are doing a fantastic job of educating our children.

    In 2015, 85.5 per cent of students graduated with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) within five years of starting high school, which is more than 17 percent higher than the 2004 rate of 68 percent. The percentage of students graduating within four years was 78.3 percent, an increase of more than 22 percent since 2004, when it was only 56 percent. Check out the Ministry of Education website. More students graduating than ever before suggests there are some very good things happening in Ontario schools.

    Just as was the case with your “article” on an imminent school shooting, you make sweeping generalizations, jump to illogical conclusions, and offer no solution to the issue. Should we bring back the strap? That’ll teach those bad kids how to behave. You don’t have to like it, Mr. McEachern, but corporal punishment is out of our school systems.

    You incite readers to write our MP’s and say what exactly? Whats your solution Mr. McEachern? Is it separate schools for “bad kids?” I’d love to know how to fix this rampant violence, so please, enlighten us Mr. McEachern.

    I do not deny children, especially at the public school level, could benefit from less lenient discipline methods. But, at the end of the day, the problem I suggest you analyze for your next opinion piece is the suicide problem in Sarnia. Through all the comments and responses to my opinion, not once do you respond to my primary point. Teen suicide is the problem we should be writing about. So please, I must insist, if you respond to this post tell me exactly why disrespect, not young Canadians taking their own lives, is the problem with our schools.

  • Sarnia

    Bang on Jacqueline! I couldn’t agree more.

  • Fiona Booth

    As a current teacher, I can say that these issues are absolutely present in some schools, but not all schools. For example, other than students in our associated class (students with exceptionalities like delayed development, autism, downs syndrome, etc), there are limited violent incidences in the school I teach at. I would wager 5-10 violent incidences occur per year, in a school with a 500+ student population. I have taught grade eight for 13 years, at two different schools, and I’ve never once been sworn at, I have never been assaulted in any way, and I have had to break up a fist fight only a single time. My sister and brother and law are also teachers, and I am still in contact with many friends from teacher’s college. I have contacted some of them about this issue, and for the most part, they have had the same experiences as me. Have we all just been lucky? I don’t know. What I do absolutely know, is that the issues within this article certainly don’t apply to every school. Half of the schools? I could easily believe that. And that is far too many. The problem is that in many of the schools who experience violence or dangerous circumstances, that violence/danger occurs frequently and severely. Many of these schools have some staff that are required to wear Kevlar on a daily basis. I think the problem began with the introduction of “progressive discipline”, where there are many steps that have to occur before suspension, etc., is even considered. The boards are being pressured by the ministry to have as few suspensions as possible. The ministry needs to review and completely change this system. However, the blame does not lie fully with the ministry or individual boards. The problem also lies with poor home situations, and frankly, parents who buy their kids out of every situation. There have been multiple occasions at my school where children were about to be suspended, and then the parents cry ‘not my perfect baby’, and threaten to go to the board. Administrators will frequently back down, as they know they will not be supported by the board. The board almost always takes the parent’s side to avoid legal cases + fees. Excuse the terminology, but our society needs to pull its head out of its butt.

  • Fiona Booth

    Cindy, I think I get your point, but you can’t claim that ANYTHING is “100% factual reality”, without data. Having a few friends in education and hearing their stories is not factual evidence. It is a miniscule piece of data. You would personally have to complete a ton of research to say anything like this is 100% factual. And frankly, as a teacher, I can argue that, at the very least, perhaps you should be in the classroom before you claim that your opinion is fact. I have been a teacher of grade eights for 13 years, in the GTA, at two schools, and I have never experienced a child swearing at me or assaulting me in any way. Does violence happen in some schools everyday? Of course. The problem is growing, and needs to be dealt with immediately. But as a teacher, I would argue that there are absolutely sensationalist elements to this article. But instilling fear grabs readers, so here we are. It could have been written far more effectively with less of the fear-mongering.

  • Cindy Mackenzie

    Thank you for your response. My classroom experience isn’t all third party word of mouth, but my 100% factual comment was a response to a poster (who looks like they’ve deleted their comments) who didn’t believe this was the state of affairs or even a big enough problem that it warranted conversation.) It was in the context of sharing with her that the article wasn’t made up that my experience of this is 100% factual. Not in the context of being 100% factual information documented through a study. Without the original comment to see the back and fourth maybe it reads unclearly. Unless you saw the original comment and my words just don’t come across as intended? Either way hopefully this clears that up. It was nice to read above that these are not the experiences of you or your colleagues, I assumed that the “70% of teachers surveyed” was low (outside of my sisters childrens amazing school) it’s nice to hear some are still having a normal school day. It’d be even nicer if it were that way for everybody.

  • Candice Baillie

    Violence in school in general is an issue. It isn’t just teachers. Kids get bullied, beat up etc and nothing gets done. So if the children fear for their life and it doesn’t get dealt with i am not surprised nothing gets done about swearing at teachers etc. But nowadays teachers swear in class in the older grades, they let kids twerk in Christmas concerts, heck the one Christmas concert in high school they did a skit about not getting laid enough. So ya school in general needs fixing. Not just issue with scared teachers. My son has ptsd type symptoms just from elementary school and he still has more years to go.

  • Rob Locke

    As a spouse of an Educational Assistant I want to join in and that its not just teachers getting abused, more so its the educational assistants that are on the front line. They are the ones who are getting kicked, punched, spit at and called vile names with little to no repercussions from administration! Things will only change when respect for mentors is a priority again and support from unions and the school boards!

  • Ivan Conrad

    Maybe it’s time we start asking the question “What’s wrong with parents?” instead of what’s wrong with schools.

  • Lee-ann Wills

    It was a sad day when the people; government, school boards, children’s advocate agencies and some parents and teachers stared putting what is perceived as best for the individual as a higher priority than what is best for the whole group. Students and educational workers at all levels are forced to try to learn and work in highly stressful and dangerous environments. Perhaps the traditional school is not the best place for every learner.

  • Evana Schmidt

    This entire society is at fault not only parents. You created a place where nobody has a respect for anybody but money… No adult can say anything to any kid anywhere anymore because this is not done in here… In other places adults have rights to tell any kid who misbehave anywhere…anyway! Here parents tell kids not to listen to anybody, not to respect anybody but themselves all done for their supposed safety because strangers are lurking on every corner to get children… Schools are responsible too… They break family bond and take power out of parents’ hands so in many cases those who want to raise their kids right simply cannot … Nobody has time to raise kids anymore for both parents work and at home there is no time for conversation because household requires lots of attention as well… Kids are dumped at day cares which are more like wardrobes where children hang on waiting for their parents to pick them up…Also in no place where relationship between people are that bad like in this country will there be respect for teachers… elders…anybody… We teach the children when we order food in a restaurant and mistreat the busboy …

  • Evana Schmidt

    Very good point… ! When nothing is being done when children are abused by other students what do you expect to happen when the same abusers mistreat teachers? Haven’t they in the first place show them that they are invincible? Why there is no kick out of school for bullying policy? This is what is done in other countries. Where will they go? Maybe a place where there is no learning math just teaching how to behave in a society…This is how is done in other countries… At school are kept only kids who want to learn…Those who are just about violence are expelled not suspended!

  • Evana Schmidt

    Are you working for the board ? You represent the institution very well… This is BS I dare say from the perspective of a parents. Nothing is done about abuse for the bully will get a slap on the wrist and the kid abused will be told not to respond if he is hit but to tell the teacher who didn’t help him in the first place. About abused teachers … well, your responsibility is to protect children first and if you feel in some way mistreated at school go to the board and fight for your safety just like you fight for your salary. One more question since when the position of teaching become a family business? Don’t answer… Since nepotism entered the establishment? You don’t teach anybody anything… well, at least not my child… for at school in this country I wouldn’t leave my dog to be trained.

  • Evana Schmidt

    Are you kidding? I had a kid at school…

  • Evana Schmidt

    This is what I saw… No consequences …NO kicking out of school…and until this will be done nothing will help. They need to be expelled for nasty behavior be it towards other students or teachers. And to a question what will we do with them when they will be expelled = talk to officials in other countries…they create places where those kids can learn trade and get the heck out of the system on their own…out of school if you don’t like to behave… Finally somebody should be concerned about kids who are smart and want to learn but focus is on behavioral and special needs nobody helps normal, smart and well behaved kids…

  • Evana Schmidt

    It starts right in grade one… Kids need to be expelled for bad behavior. Classrooms should be safe for children and that would mean to stop integrating special needs with aggressive tendencies into normal classrooms. This is the start of the problem. I had my child bitten by a special need kid …also nobody took actions for the special status of the kid. What about my normal child … nobody cares…priorities are set… bad behavior and special needs. There is nothing for a child who like to learn at school…. absolutely nothing..

  • Fiona Booth

    Evanna, I’m not sure why you’re so upset with what I said. I am a teacher; I do not work at the board office. We seem to agree that the system needs to be changed, as I pointed out in my post, stating that the problem began with progressive discipline, where it takes forever for any real action to be take toward student misbehaviour. I agree with you 100% that bullies frequently get away with their garbage. I have seen that with my own daughter being bullied on occasion. You seem to be upset with something that I agree with you about. Perhaps you misread my post? Further, I support the notion that not all teachers are abused – I point out that I have never been a victim of abuse from students, physical, verbal, or otherwise. Also, my salary is fine, thanks – I fight for more EAs to support our students, and more money in special education. Please don’t judge me when you don’t know me. Additionally, I’m not sure what your point about nepotism is? Is is about me writing that my sister and brother-in-law are also teachers? That has nothing to do with nepotism, as I was not hired by a family member. I was the first person in my family to become a teacher, in a city that is three hours away from the one I grew up in. My sister and BIL work in a completely different town from me. So, if that was your point, you made a pretty ignorant assumption. If you have seen problems with nepotism at the schools around you, and it is bothering you as much as it seems to be, I suggest you contact your board and local MP to take action against it. Again, it is completely unclear to me how anything you wrote about has to do with my post, and it seems you have some deep-seeded anger with the education system. If that is because the education system somehow let you down, I apologize for that. Lastly, I congratulate you on home-schooling your children, as he/she will not be attending school in this country. It is hard work to educate children, and I wish you well in your endeavours.

  • Daniela Chase

    “Bad” kids are not the problem. A broken system, rife with disempowered authority figures – including parents, teachers, administrators and politicians – are the.problem. And until ALL the grown-ups involved learn to play cooperatively in the sandbox for the good of all, how dare we expect better from the children who learn from our example?

  • Tom Manis

    Students have taken over ! I was in the system for 33 years when i started Students had fear of adults and now the adults fear the Students .

  • Roger Curtis

    How can you be so sure, Jacqueline? What is your evidence to the contrary? Without proof your comment is of little value. Consider this, Bayridge HS in my hometown averages 60 Violent Incident Reports by teachers each and every month. When you consider this is likely under-reported, it still adds up to a demonstrable problem.

  • Colleen Golightly

    This is not just an education issue. ‘These’ kids who are harming and hurting and misbehaving are OUR kids. Neighbours, family members. It is easy to dictate that children who misbehave should be expelled, until that child is a child you love who is struggling.

    We need stronger and more available Mental Health and medical supports for our families in Ontario. Parents of struggling children are shamed in posts like these, when what they need is help. There is NO WHERE TO GO. Wait lists for Drs, overcrowded walk in at Reach Out Centres across the province, unavailable services for most of Ontario as there is no developmental paediatrician taking clients. The newest Oakville Hospital opened a HUGE Children and Youth mental health ward…FULL….no room for more kids who need it.

    Please, we need to protect all people in schools. But, as Canadians are we not also hoping to help the children who are struggling? Yes, the classroom is not the place for many of them. But where then? Where? Because there isn’t anywhere.

    Call your MPP, don’t shame the Education system…who are trying to cope. I work in a school, we love all your kids. We need help, OUR children need help. Get your MPP to ensure ALL schools have a full time CYC, acces to a Social Worker and that all our towns and cities outside the 416 need access to good, dependable and helpful Mental Health and Medical supports.

    It is easier to help a struggling child than try to fix a broken adult.

  • Helen Gunther

    Often, as educators, we work hard to access the best available resources for some of these children and the parents refuse them. I have worked with children who are in SK whoa re functioning at the level of an 18-24 month old (for a number of reasons) and who are offered spots in specialized programs but the parents refuse, stating that they want their child to stay in their home school. They are entitled to do so and then there is very little that can be done. Likewise for children who have been referred to behavioural programs.

  • Helen Gunther

    It starts in kindergarten 🙁

  • Wallaceburg4EVA

    As a parent of two children who have experienced exactly these types of issues, I’d be happy to discuss the state of LKDSB in Wallaceburg. What strikes me as completely unacceptable is that some of us have had to move to the separate board to ensure our children’s safety and well-being because for years, nobody involved in education here has been willing to acknowledge that there is a problem let alone do anything to change it. Shockingly though, in the separate school, I have had no negative reports of any kind, so obviously, there are educators who know what they’re doing. Maybe in Wallaceburg at least, we should be looking to competent educators for some training.

  • Mark

    Bam. Excellent response… very true that this problem is rooted far deeper and beyond just the schools

  • Lori-ann Jones

    Perhaps by expelling or suspending problem kids and bullies more parents would be forced to deal with there kids..its might be a small piece of the puzzle..who knows. I know that if my parents had to leave work to attend a meeting at school for behavior issues or a suspension, it would not be a good day in my household!

  • Rosie

    As a witness to the violence that EAs endure, I have always been shocked that their union allows this repeated abuse to continue.

  • MCCB

    I feel that children with behavioral and/or mental health needs would be best served in separate classrooms with specially-trained teachers and a low teacher to child ratio. These students could still occasionally learn with their peers, perhaps for low-stress lessons during the week (such as sports or the arts). I wonder if the problem of authority figures overlooking bad behavior begins much earlier than elementary school: A friend who worked in a daycare years ago told me a story that was unnerving. A cranky toddler was throwing a tantrum and kicking her in the legs. She was told to simply isolate him in a corner of the shared playroom. She had her back to him and was watching the other toddlers while he continued to kick her from behind, until he calmed down. What shocked me is that she was FORBIDDEN to tell the child’s parent about the incident.

  • William Manuel

    We live in such a kinder and gentler era. Society has taken the rights of parents to parent. Oh my you can’t touch your child if he is misbehaving. I am not saying you need to beat children into submission, but a tap on the rear they will think twice. As the old saying goes spare the rod spoil the children. If you don’t believe that go back and reread this article. Or wait lets give heshe they them some pills for ADD or ADHD. We also live in a world where everyone wins, there are are no losers. How does this prepare the child for the rear world. Oh wait now the real world has gone to hell. To many snowflake eating Tide Pods. Governments that are jokes, terrorist around every corner, statues being taken down, anthems being changed because there are so many genders we don’t want to offend anyone. No wonder we have so many unruly youths of today. It a wonder everyone is not in therapy…. Real nice country we have now…Makes me sick some days to see the state of affairs.

  • William Manuel

    Seriously…You blame the teachers. Shake your head if it falls off kick. Parents need to start taking responsibility for their kids. This all starts at home. It’s not the responsibility of the teacher to raise your brat kids. They are educators they are there to teach. Maybe you should spend more time with your children and teach them life values. No wonder we have so many misguided youth of today Parents don’t parent. They let their kids get away with murder with no consequences.

  • William Manuel

    Yes the system is so very flawed and it started way back in my opinion mid 90’s When disciplining of the child went away. When society told us how to raise our kids. Spare the rod spoil the child. I’m not saying you need to beat your kids. However a tap on the rear when warranted goes along way. With Positive reinforcement you also need the other side of the coin. NOT everyone wins, that is why we keep score in sports, there are winners and there are losers. Saying NO will not damage a child either.

  • William Manuel

    In my opinion only…. It all starts at home. If you have an unruly child it your fault. Take responsibility stop being a burden on society. Far to often do we blame others or say the child is ADD or ADHD. I have a son that is ADHD, there were some problem growing up but, we all owned up to these and eventually as he got older, now into mid 20’s he has learned how to deal with it.

  • William Manuel

    Totally agree with you 100%