A new survey has shown that teachers entrusted with preventing bullying in Australian schools are instead bullying each other at alarming levels.
In the national online survey of more than 800 teachers, 99.6 per cent said that they had experienced bullying in the workplace, with the biggest bullies likely to be the principal or other school executives.
As per the research, power imbalance was a factor in staff bullying, and those most affected were government schools.
Deidre Duncan, of the Australian Catholic University, said that principals in government schools received the worst rating for bullying.
"In government schools, the principal receives a significantly higher nomination as a frequent or persistent bully than found in independent or Catholic schools," the Courier Mail quoted Duncan as saying.
"A total of 42 per cent of respondents in government schools said the bully was the principal," she said.
Duncan also said that such behaviour could be expected in "fairly bureaucratic organisations".
The behaviour most commonly identified by teachers as bullying was the withholding of information that affected performance, followed by the questioning of decisions, procedures and judgment.
Duncan and co-researcher Dan Riley recommended that a bullying ombudsman be appointed for teachers, awareness of staff bullying be raised, and a staff bullying register be established at each school.
Education Minister Geoff Wilson said that the research was a concern and he would ask his department to look into it.