29 April 2019
We have been denouncing violence against school support staff since last September. We have talked about this problem in the media and with other stakeholders in the education community. The government has yet to commit to solving the problem, so it’s time to take action and sign the petition.
We need to intervene with a strong voice to change this situation
We must demand a violence-free workplace for school support staff.
Survey on Violence
Violence has become a scourge in our schools. A survey conducted by the firm Ad Hoc Research, in collaboration with the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ), revealed that in 2017-2018, no less than 71% of support staff interviewed have experienced violence in the workplace.
Significant survey data: 82% of those who experienced abuse said students were the main source of these incidents. Support staff who work most directly with students are more likely to be subjected to violence. In fact, 82% of our members who provide direct services to students have experienced violence, compared to 41% of administrative support staff and 33% of manual support staff.
Women More Affected than Men
Another disturbing phenomenon: this violence affects women more often (75%) than men (51%). More than half (54%) of those affected have experienced at least two incidents, one physical and the other non-physical (shouting, profanity, offensive language, intimidation and threats). In both cases, employees trained to intervene in crisis situations are the most affected: 71% were victims of physical acts and 67% of non-physical acts.
Age also seems to a factor in the reported incidents, with 77% of respondents under 35 reporting violence, compared to 65% of staff aged 45 and over.
It should be noted that 1,839 people participated in the survey which was conducted between June 6 and July 12, 2018. The maximum margin of error associated with the survey is 2.2% with a 95% confidence level.
Urgent Need to Act
FPSS-CSQ President Éric Pronovost believes the results of this survey show that the situation is even more serious than we thought.
“The data speaks for itself and demands action be taken immediately in our schools and centers to correct the situation. Obviously, a situation that threatens the health and safety of school support staff can no longer be tolerated,” says Éric Pronovost.
He believes immediate solutions must be found to try to prevent the continuation of such incidents as much as possible.
“Several factors can explain this surge of violence in our schools and centers, among which we cannot ignore the severe cutbacks and compressions that have particularly affected school support staff. Clearly, when we have less staff to provide direct services to students, conditions are not ideal for a harmonious workplace. The lack of staffing ratios and the lack of space in day care services are other factors that may explain the rather unhealthy climate that sometimes prevails,” according to the President of the FPSS-CSQ.
Too Much Violence
In closing, Éric Pronovost will take advantage of National School Support Staff Day to seek recognition of the steadfast commitment of these workers to students, other staff and administrators, workers with difficult working conditions, often holding precarious jobs and not receiving the recognition they deserve.
“In this context, it is even more unacceptable that in addition to being ignored and unappreciated, school support staff have to endure physical and verbal abuse. It must stop, and we will insist that schools and school boards assume responsibility for protecting their support staff,” concluded Éric Pronovost, President of the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire.
The petition ends on May 14, 2019. Hurry!