Violence in Schools

Violence in Schools

Increasingly, teachers are facing violent incidents in schools and workplaces.

In 2016-2017, ETT received more than 400 fillings of violent incident reports from our members, the elementary teachers employed by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

Violent incidents were filed across all grades, from Kindergarten to Grade 8. Our office receives filings from the first day of school to the last.

We recognize that there are multiple cases where reports have not been filed. We believe the number of actual violent incidents in TDSB schools is higher than reported, as teachers are often reluctant to speak-up and discouraged from reporting. Furthermore, there is insufficient, systemic follow-up by the Board.

Some incidents reported include:

  • Physical assaults (punches, kicks, scratches, bites, slaps, head-butts, spitting)
  • Attempts to injure with projectiles (blocks, staplers, chairs, toys, water bottles)
  • Stabbing with objects (pencils, scissors, pens)
  • Verbal assaults (yelling, swearing, threats on life)

When workplace violence happens there is a risk of physical and mental harm to both adults and children. Teaching and learning are disrupted and the whole school community can be affected. Educators and students can become fearful at the prospect of violence happening again.

ETT and ETFO Action on Violence in Schools

In January 2017, in response to this growing health and safety concern, ETFO issued a public call to action outlining the steps needed to make our workplaces and schools safe as the first part of its multi-faceted approach.

ETT is working closely with other ETFO labour locals, the ETFO provincial office, and other education locals to inform and educate education workers, parents, the media, and our communities, and to call for proper provincial funding for our schools, including proper training, staffing, and programing resources to adequately meet the needs of students.

Changes to Make our Schools Safe

  • The Ontario government must ensure the necessary funding and resources for special education programs.
  • A comprehensive community approach to children’s mental health in schools is needed.
  • The Ministries of Education and Labour must proactively support school board compliance with health and safety legislative and policy requirements and reporting of incidents.
  • A stronger health and safety culture needs to be built within school boards with increased training provided at all levels.

ETFO’s Multi-Year Strategy

  • Public relations and lobbying directed at the Ministries of Education and Labour, MPPs, school board and principal organizations to address violent incidents in schools.
  • Working with the Ontario Ministries of Education and Labour to improve school board compliance with health and safety legislation and policies.
  • Working with Ministry and school board representatives to improve workplace violence reporting and compliance procedures and develop training materials.
  • Building an advocacy campaign through ETFO’s Building Better Schools community outreach for review of the education funding formula and more funding for special education.
  • Working with community groups and providers of children’s mental health services to press the government for more support for students with high risk behaviours.

TDSB Reporting Forms

Experiencing Violence? Complete the TDSB Employee’s Report of a Workplace Violent Incident Form

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), ETT members have specific duties to report workplace violence.

The TDSB Employee’s Report of a Workplace Violent Incident form should be completed by a worker if an act of violence has occurred. An “Act of Violence” is defined as “threatened, attempted, or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause physical injury.”

This form, and the other TDSB Health and Safety reporting forms, can be accessed via the TDSB website (under Employee Services, then Health & Safety), and under the H&S Reporting/Forms tab on the left-hand side. Please be advised that members are required to login to the TDSB website to access reporting forms and documents.

Your duties to report workplace violence and serious student incidents cannot be limited by age, needs, or other mitigating factors.

If you are having difficulties making these required reports, get in touch with your Steward, ETT Health and Safety Inspector, and/or Executive Officer as soon as possible to get support.


To support members, ETT has developed a flowchart indicating the steps necessary for completing TDSB health and safety reporting forms.

Download the Flowchart [PDF]

Additional Resources

Have a health and safety concern? Contact your ETT Health and Safety Inspector.

For more information and resources about workplace violence, please visit the ETFO Health and Safety website’s section on Workplace Violence, Workplace Harassment, and Serious Student Incidents.

ETFO All-Member Workplace Survey

On January 23, 2018, ETFO released the Executive Summary of its independent members’ workplace survey. According to the survey results, more than 70% of ETFO members have personally experienced violence or have witnessed violence in schools.

“Our members report that the number and severity of violent incidents is increasing and front line supports are lacking for students with high risk behaviours,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond in the accompanying media release.

See the media release
Download the Executive Summary [PDF]

ETFO Resources

As part of its campaign, ETFO has developed the following resources to address violence in schools.

Call to Action
Brochure and Poster

ETFO Workplace Violence Video Series

ETFO, as part of its call to action, is releasing a three-part series of videos on workplace violence.

Reporting Procedures

This video outlines the reporting procedures for violence in schools with an introduction to the legal requirements for reporting a violent incident.

Risk Assessment and Safety Plans

This video examines how the risks of violence are controlled in schools.

Workplace Injury and Illness

This video focuses on violence-related workplace injuries and illnesses and the important steps that members must take when they occur.

Read ETFO’s Call to Action to Address Violent Incidents in Schools

ETFO President Sam Hammond at the January 17, 2017 press conference concerning ETFO’s call to action to address violent incidents in schools.

ETFO’s call to action makes recommendations to the government for stronger funding and resources for special education; a comprehensive approach to supporting children’s mental health; proactive supports from both Ministries of Education and Labour to assure school board compliance with health and safety legislation; and better health and safety training for superintendents, principals, and staff.

Read about ETFO’s media conference for the Call to Action

Download the ETFO: Call to Action to Address Violent Incidents in Schools Document [PDF]

ETFO Action on Violence in Schools Brochure and Poster

ETFO has also produced a brochure and a poster with some handy information about its action plan for workplace violence, including

  • legal and policy requirements for workplace violence
  • your right to be safe at work
  • reporting procedures for workplace violence and serious student incidents

Download the Brochure [PDF]
Download the Poster [PDF]

Contact Us

Find your Executive Officer

Health and Safety Coordinator

Terri-Lynn Platt
416-393-9930 x238

Health and Safety Inspectors

Melony Duranovich
Health and Safety Inspector,
Wards 7 9 10 14 16

Loreen Gale
Health and Safety Inspector,
Wards 15 18 19 21 22

Mike Martin
Health and Safety Inspector,
Wards 1 4 5 12 17 20

Kristyn Owers
Health and Safety Inspector,
Wards 2 3 6 8 11 13