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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s West Kelowna murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

White Rock dogs-on-promenade survey shows majority approval

City figures suggest that off-season program could continue

UPDATE: Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus in uptown White Rock

Collision occurred July 3 at North Bluff Road and Johnston Road

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting in front of slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read