By Jack Delfs
Reports of two Western Australian primary school principals being violently assaulted within the space of two weeks of one another highlight what some say is a growing problem in the state’s education system.
The first alleged incident occurred at a school in the Rockingham area on August 6th, the second occurred at a primary school near Armadale where a male principal was threatened and pushed against a wall by the parents of one of his students.
Stephen Breen, President of the Western Australian Primary Principals’ Association, says these are just the latest in an increasing trend of violent altercations between parents and staff but believes a more front-footed approach needs to occur for there to be a change.
“We seem to be very good at collecting data but then not doing anything about the situation.
“We know that these things are occurring and that they’re increasing …We’re not very good at being proactive and actually trying to prevent these things from happening,” said Mr Breen.
According to a report written by Professor Philip Riley, based on the 2014 Principal Health and Well-Being Survey, a primary school principal is seven times more likely to be a victim of a physical assault than the average Australian.
Mr Breen has called for the support of decision makers in government and the parents of Western Australia in order to put a stop to this worrying trend.
“What we want to see is two things.
“First, all decision makers in the government to get together and actually look at this particular problem because if we ignore it now it will get worse.
“The second is for parents to stand up. We need parents to actually come out in an open way and say ‘this is not acceptable in our schools,” said Mr Breen.
“We need that people power.”