Teachers face ‘derogatory sexualized’ language and threats from students, union conference hears

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Teachers are confronted with ‘derogatory sexualized’ language and threats from out of control students in the classroom, a union conference has heard.

Student behavior has “deteriorated” in recent years as many teachers “grapple on their own” with extreme cases, the annual conference of the union NASUWT was told.

A survey of more than 4,700 union members shows that 38 percent have been victims of verbal abuse by students in the past year, while 10 percent have been threatened with physical violence by students in the same period.

The poll found that six percent of teachers had experienced physical violence by students in the past year.

Student behavior has “deteriorated” in recent years as many teachers “grapple on their own” with extreme cases, the annual conference of the union NASUWT was told. Pictured, students are lining up to take a lateral flow test at Archway School in Stroud, Gloucestershire on March 23

Wendy Exton, a member of the union’s executive, said, “We have to reclaim our classrooms, but we can’t do it alone.”

She told the conference: ‘Today we are dealing with a lot of the social problems in schools, problems with drugs and violence, knife crime, provincial lines spilling over into our classrooms.

“These crimes are often not reported because schools fear the consequences.”

Ms. Exton said that any blame for bad behavior was usually taken away from the student because various excuses were made – from “living on a council estate to trauma and even a lack of tobacco.”

She added: ‘Today’s behavior addressed to us as teachers includes not only common language but also derogatory sexualized terms, threats to ourselves and our families, and indeed, violence itself.

“In classrooms, many staff members only grapple with extreme behavior,” added Ms. Exton.

A survey of more than 4,700 union members shows that 38 percent have been victims of verbal abuse by students in the past year.  pictured, students at Rosshall Academy in Scotland on March 15

A survey of more than 4,700 union members shows that 38 percent have been victims of verbal abuse by students in the past year.  pictured, students at Rosshall Academy in Scotland on March 15

A survey of more than 4,700 union members shows that 38 percent have been victims of verbal abuse by students in the past year. pictured, students at Rosshall Academy in Scotland on March 15

A motion passed at the conference condemns schools and colleges claiming that “unacceptable” student behavior is just “part of the job.”

It also noted that teachers often do not have access to appropriate support, because “many school and college leaders do not receive adequate training” in dealing with challenging student behavior.

The motion applauded NASUWT members across the country who successfully voted to take industrial action to refuse to teach violent students.

Rosemary Carabine, a member of the union’s executive, said, “ Why should a teacher, or a group of teachers, feel that they can only feel safe at work, or make a difference in their workplace, by using grievance mechanisms or resorting to collective industrial action to stop the threats or aggression that some face on a daily basis?

The motion applauded NASUWT members across the country who successfully voted to take industrial action to refuse to teach violent students.  Pictured: Students from Kirkby High School in Merseyside

The motion applauded NASUWT members across the country who successfully voted to take industrial action to refuse to teach violent students.  Pictured: Students from Kirkby High School in Merseyside

The motion applauded NASUWT members across the country who successfully voted to take industrial action to refuse to teach violent students. Pictured: Students from Kirkby High School in Merseyside

“How many more disciplinary, competence, or similar procedures do we put some of our members through because they don’t think they have to deal with the unacceptable and extreme behavior before we say enough is enough?”

Gary Upton, a member of the union’s executive, suggested that a lack of funding had led to staff reductions, larger classes and less targeted training, making it more difficult for teachers to deal with students’ bad behavior .

He said members had experienced “discriminatory” and “foul” language use by students, as well as theft and damage.

‘In so many cases it is the teachers who have to take the time to think and think about what they could have done better. The reality is there is simply no money to train them any other way, ‘he said.

Delegates voted for the executive to lobby employers and governments to ensure that teachers and school principals receive proper training on behavioral management issues.

They called on the executive to continue to support members “by all appropriate means” when faced with “unacceptable” student behavior.

Dr. Patrick Roach, NASUWT’s general secretary, said: “The NASUWT is unequivocal that no teacher should be expected to tolerate any form of verbal or physical abuse, whether in class or online.

“The union continues to take steps, including union action and refusal to issue ballots, with members telling us that serious indiscipline or abuse of students is not contested by their school.”

A Department for Education (DfE) spokeswoman said: ‘Under no circumstances should teachers be abused just to do their job.

We are working on ambitious plans to improve behavior and discipline in schools, including our £ 10 million behavioral hub program designed to model and share exemplary practices, making behavior management a core part of early teacher education and guidance for schools to ensure this is clear and consistent. ‘