The Government is commenting as a result of an issue which was ventilated on social media in rude, abusive and unacceptable terms and on which the relevant school and teachers have the full support of the Department of Education and the Government.
The Government and the Department of Education will not tolerate any abuse of our teachers, in any form, be it direct verbal abuse or written abuse, including on social media.
Teachers are hugely valued professionals who dedicate their lives to our children, and are entrusted with their education and care while they are at school. In this they have the full and unconditional support of the Government. Abusing them in any way whatsoever is totally unacceptable and will be dealt with firmly and through a legal and criminal process as appropriate. There will be zero tolerance of any form of abusive behaviour.
Minister for Education, the Hon John Cortes, said: “It is vitally important that teachers feel safe from abuse and not exposed in any way while they carry out their vital work in educating the children of our community. We stand firmly with them and will take whatever action is necessary to protect and defend them.”
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo KC, said: “I want to make clear as head of the elected Government in Gibraltar that we will not tolerate any type of abuse of our teachers, who are amongst our most valued professionals. In my time, my parents’ generation would not have accepted any disrespect of a teacher, let alone support it or endorse it with further abuse. And our commitment is beyond teachers to all who work in the wider public sector, all of whom deserve to be treated with the same respect and consideration as the public expect from us and which is sadly all too often lacking from some sectors of the public.”
School staff focus on making school a safe and engaging learning environment for all pupils, including those whose behaviour is far from appropriate within the school setting. School staff understand that young people and children’s behaviour can be the result of a wide range of factors including their home background, changes in their home environment, their health, lack of routine and basic care and learned behaviour. Our schools have clear behaviour policies and work in a restorative manner to strengthen relationships with pupils and to resolve conflicts in a constructive manner whilst holding individuals accountable for their actions. The aim is to promote a safe and positive school climate, to ensure that the inappropriate behaviour of some children and young people does not spoil the learning of other pupils who want to learn and to ensure that all individuals within the school building feel safe and respected. Dealing with behaviours of concern in the classroom is one of the most difficult aspects of teaching and sadly the one that causes the most anxiety in teachers. Behaviours of concern in the classroom can take many forms and although the physical threat increases when you are teaching older children and teenagers, even primary school age children can be hard to manage.