Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Threats and violence on the rise in Swedish schools

Deteriorating safety

Published 22 December 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Many teachers say they are worried or afraid to go to work.

Threats and violence against school staff and students have increased by 22% over the past five years, and teachers are more likely to be physically assaulted if they are women, according to a new report.

The figures from the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s commission from the teachers’ union magazine Vi Lärare (We Teachers), which is based on statistics on the number of reports of threats and violence in Swedish schools in 2023, are not yet finalized, but it can still be seen that the number of reports has increased significantly. 863 reports were made in 2018, and 1058 reports have been received so far this year. The reports include both teachers and students.

– According to the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s latest report, primary school teachers are now the most common source of work-related complaints, Kristian Hansson, an expert at the Work Environment Authority, tells Vi Lärare.

The number of reported threats has risen from 264 five years ago to 340 this year, an increase of almost 29 percent. At the same time, reports of violence increased by 20 percent. About two percent of the reports were directed at parents, and the remaining 98 percent were directed at students.

Recently, a preschool in Gothenburg was urgently closed after a security lockdown due to threats against staff, reports the tax-funded SR. According to the union, this was due to threats against the staff.

– The staff were so frightened that they could not go to work. There were also security guards at the preschool, says Andrea Meiling, head of the Swedish Teachers’ Association in Gothenburg.

“Unreasonable”

According to the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s latest statistics on injuries to teachers and school principals, threats and violence are the third most common cause of injury. In addition, female teachers are exposed to physical violence more often than male teachers.

Physical assaults, including hitting, pushing or kicking, account for 60% of accidents involving female teachers, compared with 47% for men. Verbal threats, including threatening letters or phone calls, account for 40% of female reports and 53% of male reports.

– It is unreasonable for school staff to be afraid to go to work, so it is important to work on preventive measures, says Hansson.

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