More than 99 percent teachers bullied in Australia

May 13th, 2009 - 10:33 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 13 (IANS) One often hears about bullying among school kids, but an online survey has shown more than 99.6 percent of their teachers also face bullying by principals and executives.
More than 800 support staff, teachers, executives and principals from primary and secondary schools took part in the first online survey in Australia, conducted jointly by Australian Catholic University (ACU National) and the University of New England.

The vast majority of respondents had more than 21 years of teaching experience.

“More than 44 kinds of bullying were listed in the survey, with the most common form being the withholding of information which affects performance,” said Deirdre Duncan, adjunct professor and study co-author at ACU National.

“This was followed closely by the questioning of decisions, procedures and judgement.”

The results also indicated that power imbalance is a major factor in bullying, with school executive staff identified as the most persistent bullies, followed by the principal. Teachers were identified as the typical victim.

“A number of the findings of this research are cause for great concern,” Duncan said. “Along with the high number of staff who suffer bullying, our data also showed that more than 50 percent of those targeted will have their mental and physical health affected.”

The report made several recommendations to reduce the practice of bullying. These included recognising the existence of staff bullying in its various forms and addressing the issue at system and school levels, said an ACU release.

Duncan’s colleagues on the research team were Dan Riley from the University of New England, and statistical analyst John Edwards.

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