Canadian teachers are seeing a spike in violence and harassment among students in their schools, a slew of recent surveys shows.

The surveys, conducted by teacher unions in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia, revealed alarming statistics about the prevalence and impact of violent incidents in the classrooms.

For instance, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), representing 83,000 public elementary school employees, revealed that 77% of its members have either experienced or witnessed acts of violence directed at themselves or their colleagues. 

The situation is even more dire for those working in special education, where a staggering 86% reported encountering violence. 

Additionally, more than 80% of respondents acknowledged that violence is negatively impacting the learning environment.

Results show that things have gotten worse since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when many provinces shut down schools and forced students to remain home during the school year. 

Activist groups in some provinces have called for the removal of police liaisons from school citing racial discrimination grounds. 

Last year, the Vancouver School Board narrowly voted to re-introduce police liaisons in schools for the 2023 school year citing an uptick in “troubling and violent” attacks among students. 

Saskatchewan is grappling with similar issues, as the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, representing over 13,000 educators from pre-kindergarten to grade 12, reported an 8% increase in workplace harassment over the past five years, affecting 40% of teachers. 

Furthermore, 35% of educators indicated exposure to violence within their work environment during the same period, marking a rise from 29% in 2021.

In Nova Scotia, teachers are also witnessing a surge in violent incidents within schools. 

According to a survey conducted by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, which represents over 10,000 public school teachers, a striking 87% of teachers have observed an uptick in aggressive behavior among students. 

The survey findings suggest that this violence is taking a toll on teachers’ mental health and overall well-being.