The Malta Union of Teachers has called on the government to begin stationing security officers at schools around the island as Maltese teachers report a considerable increase in aggressive behaviour towards them.
“You can’t go to your workplace and experience this day-in and day-out,” MUT president Marco Bonnici said during a press conference. “This is going to lead to burn-out and eventually you will leave your profession, and from our end we are saying we need to have a zero tolerance and show that this is not an acceptable thing.”
In light of this, Bonnici said the MUT were ready to issue a directive to safeguard its members. In addition, he appealed to the government to begin placing security in every Maltese school.
He pointed towards a recent experiment that was held in a government school where a security officer was placed at the school’s entrance, and said the experiment had worked wonders. He called on the government to extend this model to the rest of schools in Malta.
“This needs to be extended as soon as it can be,” he said. “There are also funds allocated to this, and these funds need to be extended to other schools.”
The MUT have also rolled out two new services to help out Maltese teachers; an emergency number that will notify the MUT about cases of aggression, and a therapy service that can give psychological assistance to teachers who experienced aggression.
Bonnici went on to say that the MUT could not continue to tolerate aggressive and negative behaviour from people or students with intellectual disabilities.
The MUT quoted new statistics showing an increase in violence towards teachers
According to research MUT carried out with school educators in Malta and Gozo over the last two years, 87% of educators have reported experiencing aggressive behaviour.
They said that 75% of the time it came from students, 29% of the time from parents, and 12% from their colleagues.
It was also found that educators experience aggressive behaviour on a daily basis 23% of the time, while another 23% experience it on a weekly basis.
Only 60% of educators said they reported the aggression while the other 40% did not speak up about it.
The abuse came in both physical and verbal form, and included everything from biting to thrown objects to threats and vulgar language.