In response to allegations that a 13-year-old girl threw a bin at her teacher then punched him, teachers in Australia are calling for emergency buttons to be installed in classrooms.
The teenager has been charged with assaulting a public officer and suspended for 10 days from the public school in the Goldfields region.
AdvertisementEducation authorities labelled the incident "abhorrent" and are deciding whether to expel the student and send her to a departmental behaviour centre in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Another student also faces suspension for filming the attack. Footage allegedly shows the teacher backing away as the girl screams, punches him and then throws a bin at him.
State School Teachers Union president Anne Gisborne said measures were needed to ensure an urgent response when teachers were in danger.
"In circumstances such as that school, there might need to be phones in each classroom, that makes it easier to contact, there might be an emergency bell," News.com.au quoted Gisborne as saying.
Education Minister Liz Constable said all options would be looked at.
"But again you have to be in the place where that panic button is, don't you, when the incident occurs," she stated.
Constable said there had been no increase in attacks on teachers, with 17 expulsions due to physical assaults on teachers in 2009 and four so far this year.
Teachers are legally allowed to restrain students if they put others in immediate danger.
But Gisborne said that was not an easy call to make.
"Making that sort of choice and decision can be quite complicated because always there will be an investigation," she said.
"And one of the issues will be, has the teacher intervened in an appropriate way in the circumstance?" she added.
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