Teachers’ aide bears scars of school work

Teachers' aide Paul Hitt says he has been attacked by students.
Teachers' aide Paul Hitt says he has been attacked by students.

He says schools are seeing more students with severe behavioural and mental health problems, and that they are moved from school to school if expelled.

A few years ago Mr Hitt had two weeks off work with severe bruising and bites when he was attacked from behind by a student he was escorting while at the zoo. The bites required him to be tested for HIV over several months.

He also had a week off work due to a second incident, and the morning Comment News talked to Mr Pitt last week he was pinched and bruised by a teenage student.

‘Our workers comp covers it but it reflects on your family because you are stressed waiting for the results,’ he said.

Mr Hitt said he would like to see more teachers’ aides to uphold the behaviour management policy.

‘You need more people to be watching your back,’ he said.

‘In places, there could be more staff and more teachers to assist with students with behavioural problems.’

He felt that as a male aide he was often placed in classes with more students with problems and he said there were violent students in primary and high schools alike.

The Department of Education confirmed to Comment News this month that its behaviour management policy was under review.

Statewide services executive director Eirlys Ingram said when the director-general excluded a student from a particular school, regional staff had to work with the school and the child’s family to find a suitable education replacement for the student.

‘This may be at another public school, a specialist behaviour centre, through the Schools of Isolated and Distance Education, an alternative engagement program or at a Curriculum Re-engagement in Education school,’ Ms Ingram said.

The department would comment further on the review of its present policy.

‘What won’t change is the principle that every child in Western Australia has a right to an education in a public school, including those who have been excluded from a particular school,’ Ms Ingram emphasised.