Forty per cent of principals in Tasmania were victims of physical violence in 2019 according to a new survey.
This is the 10th iteration of the Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and WellbeingSurvey, or Riley Report, produced by Australian Catholic University and Deakin University.
About 50 principals in Tasmania responded to the survey with 40 per cent saying they had been subject to physical violence from students and about half saying they had been threatened by parents.
Tasmanian Principals Association president Dr Sally Milbourne said the fact incidents of abuse were increasing and not decreasing was a problem.
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"No one goes to any workplace to have that kind of behaviour directed at them so that is something that we need to be addressing," she said.
Malcolm Elliott is the president of the Australian Primary Principals Association and the former principal of two Tasmanian schools. He said throughout his career he received threats from parents.
"It is a shock because you are expecting to have a rational conversation with somebody based on [the idea] that 'the reason we are talking today is because we care about your child'," Mr Elliott said."
He emphasised that the majority of parents were well behaved but said even one abusive parent in a school community is too many.
Both he and Dr Milbourne hoped that newfound respect for teachers and school leaders brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic would help curb incidents of abuse.
"My fingers are crossed that this is maybe the start of some better understanding of the role of school principals and teachers and that we are all on the same page just wanting to do the best thing for our young people," Mr Elliott said.
Education and Training Minister Jeremy Rockliff said principal well-being was a priority for the government.
He said the government had developed a principal well-being action plan based on recommendations in the Riley Report which aimed to reduce incidents of threats and physical violence.
He said it also aimed to address the other key finding of the report which found principal felt burnt out and overworked.
"The government does not condone violence in any way, particularly in our schools," Mr Rockliff said.
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