NYSUT has noticed a significant spike over the last few years in the number of members who are injured because of violent student behavior. The increase comes at a time when tremendous pressure is being put on districts to change disciplinary policies so punishment for students of color and for those with disabilities is not disproportionate.
Keeping students in school greatly increases their chances of graduating and staying out of the criminal justice system. However, in almost every case where a district has imposed a suspension moratorium, efforts to replace suspensions with a good alternative that is fair to staff and students alike have been totally inadequate. Because of this, members, particularly those who work in urban, BOCES and Special Act districts, experience increased injuries and threats.
Over the next month, NYSUT's phone call center staff will conduct a statewide workplace violence survey for members who work in public schools. If you are contacted to participate, please do so, regardless of whether you have been threatened or injured at work.
"We need good data to help us understand the extent of the problem and how locals address it," said NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale, whose office oversees workplace health and safety issues.
Results of the survey will be used to guide NYSUT's efforts in addressing workplace violence in schools.