Victor Espinoza (left) and Randy Anderson-Fennell (right) are calling for a review of how staff report student aggression in Delta schools. (James Smith photo)

Delta trustee candidates call for review on how student aggression is reported

Randy Anderson-Fennell and Victor Espinoza say schools need to track all violent incidents

School trustee candidates Randy Anderson-Fennell and Victor Espinoza are proposing a review of reporting mechanisms for violent incidents in schools after finding statistics from the district and support staff painted “vastly different pictures.”

According to a press release, Kids Matter candidate Anderson-Fennell filed a Freedom of Information request with the Delta School District in July, asking for statistics on student aggression and violence for the 2017-2018 school year.

The district replied in September, he said, and provided a document that detailed 13 incidents across the district. These incidents were only ones requiring first aid, medical attention or lost time.

However, numbers on the ground look quite different, Anderson-Fennell said.

Anderson-Fennell worked with Patti Price, president of CUPE Local 1091, to find out how often support staff report claims of student aggression and violence. Support staff, such as education assistants, are part of CUPE Local 1091 and are encouraged to report all incidents and near misses to the district or WorkSafe, Price explained.

Numbers from CUPE union representatives show education assistants reported 30 incidents or near misses at five Delta schools since classes started this September. A sixth school reported 99 incidents during the 2017-2018 school year.

The difference between the two datasets is a concern for Anderson-Fennell, himself a support staffer in the Surrey School District.

“A student behaving aggressively could escalate to actual physical violence, so we need to know about all these incidents even if no one received medical attention or missed work,” Anderson-Fennell said in a press release.

He argued that having a better understanding of how often support staff — and teachers — are dealing with violent or aggressive students would go a long way to creating a safe school environment. “A problem well stated is a problem half solved,” he said.

Anderson-Fennell and Espinoza, both running for trustee with the Kids Matter slate, are calling for a review on reporting mechanisms for these kinds of incidents.

“We need to ensure all stakeholders are using the same data to inform the decisions they make,” Espinoza, a teacher for over 20 years in the Richmond School District, said in the release.

Anderson-Fennell agreed.

“We need to rectify the data we’re collecting,” he said. “This is particularly relevant, given the new provincial negotiating framework.”

A provincial negotiating framework was endorsed by support unions and the provincial government in September, with the intent of improving services for people and ensuring fair compensation for staff. The framework includes a commitment by both groups to work together to minimize or eliminate the risk of violence in the workplace.

Although Anderson-Fennell and Espinoza’s release didn’t include a plan for what a new violent incident reporting mechanism might look like, Anderson-Fennell said the school board has done a good job of introducing other government mandates, like the new education curriculum, in the past. He said a new reporting mechanism could be developed in the “same incisive fashion.”

The civic election will take place on Oct. 20, with advance voting on Oct. 11.

SEE ALSO: 43 candidates running in Delta civic election



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta extends patio program ‘indefinitely’

13 restaurants, cafés, pubs and breweries have taken advantage of the program to date

North Delta crime beat, week of Sept. 14

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

South Delta crime beat, week of Sept. 14

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

Two dead in COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital

Total of 10 patients and four staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

Surrey denturist goes mobile

Dr. Sarwar Sarwari, of True Fit Denture Centre, has had the van up and running for a month

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read