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Aggression towards school staff in Moray triples

By Hazel Lawson Local Democracy Reporter

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The rising number of violent and aggressive incidents was discussed by Moray Council. Picture: Daniel Forsyth. Image No..
The rising number of violent and aggressive incidents was discussed by Moray Council. Picture: Daniel Forsyth. Image No..

Violent and aggressive incidents towards Moray school staff have more than tripled since last year.

Between April and October a total of 1647 incidents were recorded, compared with 537 over the same period the previous year.

Speaking at the council's education committee meeting on Tuesday, secondary school representative Susan Slater called for more support for teachers.

She said: "It works out at 86 incidents a week and 17 incidents per school day. That’s horrific."

Derek Ross (Speyside/Glenlivet, Independent) felt the statistics were very worrying.

He said: "Is inclusion working? Are school leaders asking that question at all? Or do we need alternative provision for some people?

"It’s having a disproportionate impact on staff and on the pupils who want to learn."

Cllr Ross added that he had personally witnessed some young people causing problems during a recent bus journey, going on to describe their behaviour as "disgraceful".

Head of education Vivienne Cross wanted to make it clear that not all young people were showing extreme behaviour.

She said: "It’s worrying but these are behaviours that are out in the community. And it is having an impact on members of staff.

"Some behaviours are being condoned by parents and carers. We’re also seeing some parents having difficulty dealing with behaviours being demonstrated since Covid."

She added that work was ongoing to address the issue.

Mrs Cross said: "I’ve said it before but it takes a village to raise a child. It’s not an education problem, it’s a social problem.

"What is worrying is some pupils are attending school but not attending class, and using social media to incite other young people.

"It’s first and second years. It is a problem and something we’re trying to work on."

John Divers (Elgin South, Labour) said: "I’m a former youth worker, but times have changed. Some young people see themselves as untouchable."

Fellow Elgin South councillor Graham Leadbitter (Labour) called for a "deep dive" into the complexities of the issue.

Education resources and communities officer Andy Hall told the meeting, if that were to be done, then a lot of people needed to be involved.

He agreed to consult with colleagues and bring back a report to the committee that will include figures for pupil-on- pupil incidents.

That document will also go to the Community Planning Partnership Board which includes representatives from the NHS, police, fire service, UHI Moray and the third sector.

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