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Government states it will not tolerate any abuse of teachers

The Government has responded to an issue that was posted on social media in what No.6 Convent Place described as “rude, abusive and unacceptable” terms.

No.6 said it will not tolerate any abuse of teachers in any form.

“There will be zero tolerance of any form of abusive behaviour,” said a Government statement.

In addition, it pledged that 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,” said a statement from No6 Convent Place.
“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.”

The statement went on to say that teachers have the full and unconditional support of the Government and that abusing them in any way whatsoever is totally unacceptable and will be dealt with firmly and through a legal and criminal process as appropriate.

The minister for education, Dr John Cortes, said that 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,” he said.

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, also commented and said he wanted to make clear as head of the elected Government in Gibraltar that it will not tolerate any type of abuse of teachers, who are amongst Gibraltar’s 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,” he said.

“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.”

He added that 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. And that these staff members 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, 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,” said Mr Picardo.

“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,” he added.

Unite the Union

Unite the Union also condemned online abuse of Gibraltar’s teachers stating that its membership has Unites full trust when carrying out their roles and responsibilities.

“Our teachers perform a valuable and complex function in our society,” said a statement from Unite.

“They work hard, not only for our children to reach their full academic potential but also for our children to grow up to be responsible and respectful members of civil society.”

“In support of our teachers as a bastion of civil society, Unite the Union roundly condemns the abuse that has been hurled at certain members of the teaching profession for doing their jobs with care, commitment and professionalism.”

“They do not deserve this, it has no place in our Gibraltar and we will not tolerate it,” it added.

The union also stated that all possible actions to uphold the standing and reputation of the profession will be considered.

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