Students worse behaved and more violent since the pandemic, teachers say

Students worse behaved and more violent since the pandemic, teachers say

By Jack Wilson

Local Journalism Initiative


Teachers in the Eastern Township School Board (ETSB) are reporting a significant decline in student behaviour since the pandemic. Two teachers – one elementary and one high school teacher – agreed to speak with The Record about their experiences on the condition of anonymity. Both reported increases in violence and rude behaviour among students as well as an impact on their own mental health.

“We always felt like we were a community,” the elementary teacher said, describing a culture of older kids helping younger kids and positive interactions between teachers and students. “That culture has completely changed.”

“Our older kids don’t seem to have the empathy they used to have,” the teacher said. “We’ve had a huge increase in behaviour problems in our school.”

The high school teacher recalled a student yelling and swearing at them, “spitting it out seven inches from my face.” Students are much worse behaved since before the pandemic, the teacher said. “Kids have no compunction about talking to teachers in a really nasty, verbally aggressive mode.”

Alongside their behaviour toward teachers and each other, the high school teacher said they’d also observed “a lack of respect for the cleaning crew,” with students mocking staff as they work or making messes as they pass by.

In some cases, verbal violence becomes physical. The elementary teacher reported noticing an increase in physical violence, especially during recess. At their school, students have access to rakes and shovels to play with outside. Recently, they said students are “hurting each other with the tools they used to play with.”

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