On Monday, the umbrella organization of teachers in Switzerland (LCH) presented the results of a study on violence against teachers.
“The father of a student blocked my exit from the classroom after I had to break off the learning report discussion because he insulted me as a dictator, devil and satan.” Or: “A student doesn’t feel like completing the assignment, I point it out to him, he says: ‘Fuck you.'”
Such insults or threats from parents and students, but also bullying from work colleagues are part of everyday work for teachers: two out of three Swiss teachers have experienced violence in the past five years. (Blick reported).
This is the result of a representative survey of teachers at all levels, which was carried out for the first time in German-speaking Switzerland. Extrapolated to 100,000 teachers, 65,000 are affected by violence. The umbrella organization of teachers in Switzerland (LCH) presented a corresponding study on Monday.
Violence most often comes from parents
The survey shows that violence against teachers most often comes from parents (in 36 percent of the cases) and students (34 percent). In 15 percent of cases, other teachers act as aggressors, and in eleven percent the school management.
Female teachers tend to experience more violence than their male colleagues, it is said. And: Younger teachers are more often exposed to violence, but classify it as less bad than older teachers.
Head of teacher study: “Psychological violence is the most common”(02:52)
“The results of the study are worrying for the professional association,” said Beat A. Schwendimann, head of the educational office at the LCH. But: The association does not want to dramatize, said Central President Dagmar Rösler. “There are no American conditions in Switzerland.” In other words, serious incidents of violence involving sexual assault, weapons or injuries are isolated cases.
The violence shows up in more subtle forms, according to study author Martina Bräger. Insults, verbal abuse, threats and intimidation are the most common forms of abuse in Swiss schools. These are not without consequences, however, those affected are often emotionally burdened over a longer period of time.
Overload and lack of resources
However, the study does not provide any answers on the socio-demographic profile of violent parents or students. The results show, explained Schwendimann, that violence can come from people from all social and educational backgrounds. “The primary goal of the study was to collect comprehensive statistics on the subject for the first time.”
Violence against teachers is not actually taboo, and those affected can usually confide in someone, the study goes on to say. Only: It often remains with a “moral support”.
“All too many of those affected feel they have to fend for themselves to cope with violence against them,” the study states. One could speak of looking the other way and shifting responsibility. In addition to being overwhelmed, this could be a sign of overload and a lack of resources.
LCH calls for crisis concepts
The LCH therefore calls for preventive measures and better support for affected teachers. The association therefore calls for an independent ombudsman as well as intervention and crisis concepts at every school.
Teachers would also need to be trained in conflict management or how to deal with cyberbullying. School administrators, appointing authorities and teams should acknowledge the facts that have now come to light and not downplay the violence.
For the LCH it is clear: every case of aggressiveness is one too many. The school must be a space free of violence and fear for everyone involved.