Written Answers. - Physical Assaults on Teachers.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

971 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will report on the structures, if any, to be put in place to pre-empt and respond to physical assault on teachers in view of recent reports that one in 12 teachers has been subjected to physical assault; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1546/99]

My Department issued a circular entitled "Assaults on Teachers/School Employees" to boards of management and principals of all national schools in September 1997. This circular was drawn up in consultation with the partners in education, and drew the attention of boards of management to a number of issues such as the boards' duty to provide a safe place of work for employees; measures to be taken to prevent or minimise the risk of assaults to teachers or other staff employed in schools; and measures to be taken in support of staff who have been assaulted or threatened with assault and in ensuring that appropriate action is taken to safeguard against a recurrence. Currently, officials at second level within my Department are engaged in discussions with the education partners with a view to issuing similar guidelines at that level.