Two teachers injured by special needs students
There have been two separate incidents in which Langley school teachers have been injured by violent special needs students since the school year began.
In both cases, the female teachers required medical attention and one had to take some time off work to recover.
The Langley Teachers’ Association (LTA) said the incidents are proof that school district cutbacks to special needs teachers are creating a dangerous situation.
“It does not bode well,” LTA president Gail Chaddock-Costello said.
The number of such incidents appears to be increasing, Chaddock-Costello added.
Normally, the district records about two such incidents in an entire year.
Chaddock-Costello presented figures to the last school board trustees meeting that showed the number of special needs teachers in Langley has been cut at a time when the number of special needs students is on the rise.
From 2001 to the present, the LTA estimates the number of special needs students — children with physical or emotional issues who require special attention — has gone from 1,737 to 1,969.
That’s an increase of 13.4 per cent.
During the same period, the number of trained special education teachers fell to 110.9 full-time equivalents, or a drop of 15.6 per cent.
“Teachers have no issue with integration [of special needs students in the classroom],” Chaddock-Costello said.
“The issue is not the students, it’s a lack of support for those students.”
Caddock-Costello said school administrators keep approving mixed classrooms with special needs and ordinary students together without consulting teachers or even visiting the classrooms.