Female Limerick teacher reports assault by primary school pupil  

Fifth class pupil suspended after incident

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan

Female Limerick teacher reports assault by primary school pupil  

Incident: Scoil Íosagáin CBS, formerly CBS Sexton Street

A FEMALE teacher in a Limerick primary school has reported to gardai that one of her young pupils assaulted her, the Limerick Leader has learned.

It has alleged that a 12-year-old boy pushed the woman against a wall in a hallway of Scoil Íosagáin CBS, formerly CBS Sexton Street. It is understood the teacher complained of a sore arm but has not taken any sick leave.

Principal of Scoil Íosagáin CBS, Patrick Hanley confirmed an incident did take place on Friday, February 10.

A garda spokesperson said: “Gardaí in Roxboro are investigating an incident which occurred at a premises on Sexton Street, Limerick on February 10 at 10.40am. Investigations are ongoing.”

Mr Hanley said that a fifth class pupil has been suspended. The matter is being handled by the school’s board of management, gardai and Education Welfare Services.

“This is very unusual in a primary school, in particular, it is a very rare thing. It is very upsetting and shocking for the rest of the boys in the school. None of the other children would ever dream of copying it or thinking it was acceptable. They were absolutely shocked, as much as the teacher was,” said Mr Hanley.

Three years ago the east Limerick branch of the INTO sent a motion to congress saying, “Noting the number of teachers who have been assaulted by pupils in the course of their teaching work, demands that the CEC enter into negotiations with the Department of Education to establish a separate system of work-related assault leave that does not impinge on existing sick leave arrangements”

Following a query from the Limerick Leader, an INTO spokesperson confirmed that assaults are on the rise.

“The INTO has on a number of occasions in recent years raised the matter of ‘assault leave’ with the Department of Education. A teacher who is injured as a result of an incident is clearly not ill in the normal course. The sick leave recording mechanism should immediately be recalibrated to record occupational injury which would have no impact on sick leave. This work is on-going,” they said.

More and more research shows that verbal and physical attacks on teachers are on the increase, said the INTO spokesperson. 

“When they occur, the impact on the individual teacher can be profound. Most physical assaults were by pupils, and most verbal assaults were carried out by adults. The consequences of violence at work include physical harm, stress, emotional trauma, feelings of powerlessness and demotivation for the individual while for the employer consequences include staff turnover, absenteeism and sickness absence and higher insurance costs,” said the spokesperson.

The union has produced guidelines for schools on preventing and responding to assaults and violence against staff in primary and special schools.

“Assaults and violence are categorised as risks to occupational health and safety, so in this context, school boards of management are required to assess the risk of assaults and violence against staff occurring and put measures in place to ensure that such risks are minimised.”