Halifax police called to schools hundreds of times due to violence since 2018

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الأربعاء 22 مارس 2023 09:27 مساءً

Halifax Regional Police records show officers were called to schools due to violent incidents involving students more than 420 times since 2018.  (Stephen Rowe/Twitter - image credit)

Halifax Regional Police records show officers were called to schools due to violent incidents involving students more than 420 times since 2018. (Stephen Rowe/Twitter - image credit)

Teachers and support staff say more protections need to be in place after staff members were stabbed at a Halifax school this week.

Two Charles P. Allen High School employees are in critical but stable condition in hospital. A 15-year-old student is facing 11 charges, including attempted murder, in relation to the incident.

"The violence in schools right now is rampant and I don't think people have any idea what school is like," said Ann Marie Danch, who has been an educational program assistant for 20 years.

Halifax Regional Police have been called to schools, or near schools, because of violent incidents involving students 424 times since 2018, according to data provided by police. Charges were laid in 77 of those incidents.

Most of the calls were categorized as "assaults not in progress" or threats. Thirteen out of 48 weapons calls resulted in charges.

"We have [educational program assistants] that have been in the hospital for, you know, extended periods because they've been hurt so badly by students," Danch said.

"We shouldn't be afraid to go to work and, in a lot of cases, we're afraid to go to work."

Police responded to 183 violent incidents at or near schools in 2018, which is the highest of the last five years. These types of incidents dropped significantly in 2020 likely because many students were doing at home learning.

"I've been kicked, bit, punched, hair pulled out of my head. This year I actually had a student attack my breast," said Latisha Levering, another educational program assistant.

'A teacher's worst fear'

The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union says they're obligated to look at how schools can be made safer after Monday's incident.

"This is, I mean, I think a teacher's worst fear and certainly a parent's worst fear that this could possibly happen," Ryan Lutes said in an interview.

Blair Rhodes/CBC

Blair Rhodes/CBC

Lutes, who is also a high school teacher, says the union and province need to look at what services can be implemented to prevent this kind of behaviour from students.

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"What supports weren't in place that this could happen? You know, what social safety net supports, what mental health supports does our school system [and] in our social systems need to provide that maybe weren't here?"

The union wants to be part of any discussions the province may have when it comes to improving safety in schools, Lutes says.

Improving safety

Nova Scotia's education minister says it's too early to say what specific changes will be made to improve safety at school, as they're still waiting for the police investigation.

"The investigation that's underway in the school to understand exactly what happened and the work that we will do with the department to consider this situation and other information available will help us understand what next steps to take to ensure that our schools are as safe as they can be," Becky Druhan told reporters Tuesday.

Druhan wouldn't say if the department of education would consider putting metal-detectors in schools to prevent students from bringing weapons inside.

Levering believes bringing school liaison police officers back to schools would have an immediate effect.

"Because they're able to diffuse it before it even happens usually."


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