Nunavut’s Education Department developing tool to track school violence

New tool would fill gap in current tracking methods

Nunavut’s Department of Education will implement a new tool to track violence in the territory’s schools. Here, students at Joamie Ilinniarvik School in Iqaluit play at recess. (Photo by Jane George)

By Emma Tranter

Nunavut’s Department of Education says it is developing a new tool to track violence in the territory’s schools.

In response to a written question from Arviat North–Whale Cove MLA John Main submitted in the legislature last fall, the department said it recently began creating the tool to track security and violent incidents in schools within the existing Student Information System.

The department’s response to Main’s written question was made publicly available on the legislature’s website last week.

The new tracking tool, along with violence report forms, is being developed with staff in all of the territory’s regions in collaboration with the Nunavut Teachers’ Association, the department wrote in its response.

“This tool will ensure that reported data is collected accurately and consistently across Nunavut, and will allow all schools to track relevant information for each case,” the department wrote.

In an emailed statement to Nunatsiaq News, a spokesperson for the department did not provide an exact date, but said the new tool will be put in place next school year.

“The department anticipates a tracking tool/reporting mechanism for violence in schools to be implemented in the 2020-21 school year. This will allow the department to better measure the full scope of the issue and to be better prepared to allocate the required resources to fully support students, teachers, and staff in dealing with and reducing violence in schools,” the statement said.

In his written question, Main also asked the department if there had been a significant trend in student-on-student violence in recent years.

But in its response to Main, the department said it has not consistently tracked and reported these incidents.

“The Department of Education is unable to comment on trends related to student-on-student violence, as the reporting and tracking of these incidents has not been consistent, and the department cannot verify the accuracy of available data,” the department wrote.

When asked if there were recent trends in student-teacher violence, the department provided the same response.

John Fanjoy, president of the Nunavut Teachers’ Association, spoke about violence in the territory’s schools during the standing committee on legislation’s review of Bill 25, An Act to Amend the Education Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act, in Nov. 2019.

Fanjoy told the committee that, lately, violence in the territory’s schools has been on the rise.

“There is a significant increase that is being reported to us of violence in our schools that is creating much stress on our teachers. The majority of the violence that’s being reported is student-on-student violence,” Fanjoy told the committee.

During the committee meeting, Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak asked Fanjoy if anyone had been tracking the increase in school violence.

“I could not speak to the department, whether they are doing any internal tracking of that. There is no external tracking,” Fanjoy said.

Fanjoy also said the number of teachers in Nunavut who have left the profession because of specific violent incidents has increased over the last five years.

The committee also heard from Doug Workman, president of the Iqaluit District Education Authority. Workman confirmed that there was currently no system to track violence in Nunavut’s schools.

“In Iqaluit, we have a lot of violence in the classroom…. Well the only way we track it is by suspension, and we have a list of suspensions every year for students who are violent in the classroom with other children in their classroom as well as with staff members.” Workman said.

In its response to Main, the department said it will continue to work with the Nunavut Teachers’ Association to break down barriers to the reporting of incidents.

The department also said it is developing a new handbook that amalgamates schools’ crisis response planning guidelines, planning manuals for principals and school fire safety manuals.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Concerned Dad on

    Hope I can save enough to send my son south for school when the time comes.

  2. Posted by UnableWood on

    I hope this is reported accurately and if it is, people may have a greater appreciation for those rearing their children. I will answer my own question… it will not be accurate if it is electronically based. Most schools have extended periods of time without computer access which may or may not be dealt with by the HelpDesk in a rude fashion. Ask those who use Maplewood and see what the consensus will be… don’t ask the Dept because they still have issues counting numbers and dividing them.

    • Posted by No Idea on

      …and you, UnableWood you do not have any clue what you are talking about. Stop spreading rumors based on unsupported facts, based on no knowledge

  3. Posted by Concerned Dad in Nunavut on

    As the parent of a child who has yet to enter the school system in Nunavut I am concerned enough as it is about my child’s future. An article like this only makes it more apparent why I should be. One option I have noticed many Nunavummiut take is to send their children south to be educated in boarding schools. This might be a good choice once a child reaches high school age.

  4. Posted by Consistency on

    Bullying and violence in school and around the school are a problem and we should look at ways to stop it, unfortunately i dont think it will go away any time soon, so Parents/famlily of kids make sure that our kids have a safe place all other times. give them support and lets not let internal family violence also be part of the additive problem.

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