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Algoma teachers union concerned about violence in schools

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More than 1,200 incidents of violence were reported at public schools in Algoma, according to a document presented at this week’s board meeting.

But the Algoma Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) said incidents are likely under-reported.

“Students throwing items in the room, biting, kicking, punching, sometimes you have children threatening the adults in the room, swearing at the adults,” said Shelly Predum, president of Algoma ETFO.

“Learning is being disrupted and the violence is being normalized. And a lot of our young children are being traumatized by what they’re seeing in the classroom. And they really need the supports to work through what they’re seeing and also to support the child that’s struggling in the classroom.”

Predum said some staff wears Kevlar to school so they have body armour to protect against bites and other injuries.

One student was so disruptive and violent, their classroom had to be evacuated three times. Predum said more funding from the province is needed to deal with this issue.

“They can be funding mental health supports, resources, extra EAs, programming that can be delivered to support the students that are having challenges, but also to support the teachers and other children in the classroom,” said Predum.

While there are supports available to teachers, she said they don’t address staffing challenges.

CTV News reached out to the Algoma District School Board, but they declined to comment.

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