A new study has shown that school principles face physical violence and threats against them increasingly. This study reveals that the demand of this job has caused one in 10 of school principals to experience reduced quality of life.
Some principals have even thought of harming themselves. The findings also reveal that nearly one in two school principals and deputies got threats in 2016. On the other hand, a total of 34 percent of them has been the victims of physical violence last year. In comparison, only 27 percent of deputies and principals experienced physical violence six years ago.
Apparently, the people responsible for these in primary school are angry parents. Meanwhile, these assaults are caused by students in high school.
“The mythology is that it’s poor government schools that have high levels of violence. Well the research is showing that it’s actually everywhere, it’s endemic,’’ states Philip Riley an associate professor at the Australian Catholic University’s Institute for Positive Psychology and Education. “This is happening across the board, in elite private schools, Catholic schools, and public schools. I know of a case in which a private school principal was pinned up against a brick wall by a barrister holding his elbow across his throat because of a dispute about fees.”
The study also shows that principals are 1.6 times more likely to experience burnout than the general population. They are also 1.7 times more likely to experience stress due to the demands of their job.
However, Riley laments that private school employers, state governments, and even Catholic education offices are not doing enough to solve these problems. The researcher urges the development of solutions to address these. Such solutions must be long-term and must include handling threats of violence, adult bullying, and violence in schools.
Correna Haythorpe, the federal president of the Australian Education Union, said that more resources must be given to schools to decrease the stress principals suffer from, THE AGE reports. Moreover, the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership chief executive, Lisa Rodgers, also says that she is aware that being a principle is a complex task and is increasingly becoming harder.
Rodgers says that the possible solutions for these problems could include decreasing red tape, making sure that social cohesion is present as well as ensuring the collaboration in schools that will alleviate stress and violence done to principals. “There’s more and more pressure to deliver and people are expecting a quicker response to things, in an area where there is quite a bit of conflict,” Rodgers adds.