Violence in Schools

  • The reality of violence in schools is a clear and present concern for some teachers.     

Some students: 

  • have lagging skills.
  • need more academic support.
  • are chronically dysregulated.
  • have anxiety.
  • are habitual digital content consumers.
  • are habituated to dopamine.
  • are exhausted.
  • are angry.
  • have low frustration tolerance.
  • lack resiliency.

For these students -- triggers, meltdowns, dysregulation, and verbal or physical violence are a given.

They have all the big feelings, and very skills to manage them. 

  • Teachers KNOW behaviour is communication.
  • Teachers KNOW that kids are good inside AND are having a hard time on the outside. 
  • Our compassion needs to exist alongside strong advocacy for robust processes to address, prevent and review violence, both verbal and physical, in schools. 

Link: WorkSafe BC Violence in Schools. The data sort below shows 437 approved short term, long term, or fatal injury approved claims due to acts of violence in schools between 2019 and 2023. If you want to see more, go to the WorkSafe BC link at the start of this paragraph, scroll down, and under the heading "WorkSafeBC data and industry health and safety", and click on "Public school districts: time-loss claims in BC". I selected elementary and secondary teachers (including kindergarten). 



Like all other health and safety issues - ice, chemicals, electrical hazards, ergonomics -- addressing violence is a joint responsibiity of the employer AND the employee.  

(Please note that if you do experience violence at work, it is your duty to report the physical or psychological injury to your employer. You may also want to phone in your injury to Worker's Compensation, to ensure that you can receive compensated time off should you require it going ahead. Details found re WorkSafe BC forms here.)

WorkSafe BC's definition of workplace violence is: "The attempted or actual exercise by a person, other than a worker, of any physical force so as to cause injury to a worker and includes any threatening statement or behaviour which gives a worker reasonable cause to believe that he or she is at risk of injury." Acts of violence can be committed without an intent to injure; the definition of violence relies on the IMPACT on the worker, not the INTENT of the student.

Luckily, a variety of tools exist to help address, prevent and review violence in schools.

This Occupational Health and Safety Toolkit is worth a long look.

The opening statement is from its intro section:



What tools from this toolkit are being actively used in schools in SD54? 

To my knowledge ------- TWO. There are a number more that might be of interest to teachers.

THIS LINKED TABLE  lists all the resources  from the toolkit, and their purpose.

*In fifteen minutes, a whole school staff -- administration, teachers, education assistants, and indigenous support workers could learn about the tools -- and circle back for further discussion at a school JOSH committee meeting, or a whole staff meeting -- whatever the majority decides is most likely to address violence at their school. 

*If violence at your school is an item of concern, in any way, it might be an interesting exercise to cast a collective "iterative improvement eyeball" on the issues and commit to joint efforts for solutions.


Balancing Worker Safety with Student Privacy: If a teacher might be at risk of violence, they are entitled to information. Read the bulletin below for more information.

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