Calls for action as violent incidents at schools double

The figures come after a video on social media showing a shocking attack on a girl sparked widespread debate.

Calls for action as violent incidents at Fife schools double, report reveals Supplied

Violence in Fife schools has doubled in the last two years, a new report has revealed.

The figures come after a video on social media showing a shocking attack on a girl sparked widespread debate.

It prompted Fife Council to order a report into violent incidents in schools – and the figures revealed the worrying increase. 

The paper was released on Tuesday and will be discussed at this week’s meeting of the education and scrutiny committee. 

It found that school violence across the region has more than doubled since 2021. A total of 639 incidents have already been reported for 2023.

Now Councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder, the Liberal Democrats’ education spokesperson has called for immediate action. 

The Dunfermline Central councillor said: “The recent incident at Waid Academy is just the tip of the iceberg and I am worried it will get worse if nothing is done.

“It is simply not acceptable that there were two and a half times more violent incidents in Fife’s schools last year compared to 2017. Just the two first months of this year are already totalling 639 incidents – there is clearly a crisis in our schools.”

The report by Shelagh McLean, head of education and children’s services, revealed that more than 10,400 violent incidents have been reported since 2017. 

“Of these, 8,350 were recorded as physical and 2,170 as verbal incidents of violence, aggression or threat,” she reported. 

“In our secondary schools, there were 1313 reported verbal incidents and 1220 physical incidents. In our primary schools there were 5341 reported physical and 543 verbal incidents.” 

Cllr Boubaker-Calder said she was dismayed at the figures and called for urgent action to resolve the issue.

“Doing nothing is not acceptable and the numbers presented are showing this,” she said. 

“The Scottish Government needs to provide the tools and resources to local authorities. This includes cutting waiting time for mental health support, funding for teachers, school psychotherapists and classroom assistants and providing the right policies. 

The council, she said, must also provide better policies and support for schools to prevent and tackle violence “from the roots.” 

Cllr Boubaker-Calder wants the authority to place an adequate network of support in place for teacher, staff, and pupils – including perpetrators.

“We must act now to ensure our young people can be educated in the environment where they can flourish in the best version of themselves. For the sake of the teachers, the staff and the pupils and the future education of my daughter, I won’t rest until this is properly addressed,” she said. 

EIS Fife, the local division of the largest teaching union in Scotland, has seconded calls to action.

“We have been very concerned for some time that there is an increase of violent and aggressive incidents. The rate of increase has accelerated during this school year,” Graeme Keir, publicity officer for the union  said.

It is calling for a  zero tolerance policy to violence in schools.

“We need a united front in this policy from parents, councillors, MSPs and school management. Fife council has a duty of care for their employees and a duty to provide a safe learning environment for learners,” Mr Keir said

“We urgently need more support staff and support teachers to help meet the needs of teachers.”

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