A young boy aiming a BB gun.
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
IIn a fiery plea to the Knesset’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee, Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razbozov demanded harsher punishment to students who are physically violent towards their teachers.
“Seventeen-year-olds who shoot teachers, even with plastic bullets should be thrown in jail,” Razbozov said on Friday afternoon.
The request for an urgent committee meeting came in reaction to an incident where two 17-year-olds shot a science teacher in the back with plastic bullets at Rabin High School in Eilat last Thursday.
“We must not wait any longer and act swiftly and decisively to deal with this unacceptable phenomenon. We cannot let it get to a point where a teacher will be murdered and it will be too late for the public to ask why nothing was done to prevent this. It is therefore imperative that an urgent meeting be held at the Knesset Education Committee to come up with a practical solution before it is too late,” added Razbozov in the request.
The requested meeting is scheduled to be held on Tuesday where members of the committee as well as the Teachers Union will be present.
In support of the teachers and the need for harsher penalties against acts of violence towards teachers, the Education Ministry on Sunday condemned the attack in Eilat and insisted that law enforcement authorities will bring the perpetrators to justice.
“In addition, we will ensure an in-depth investigation with the security company and because of the severity of the incident, the Eilat municipality met with high school principals and the city’s advisory teams and formulated a program for educational activities that will take place tomorrow in all classes. The teachers are not forgotten!” The Ministry said.
Yaffa Ben-David, secretary- general of the Teachers Union believes that cases of classroom violence are increasing at an alarming rate and this issue needs to be addressed urgently.
“This situation cannot continue; violence is intensifying not only in Eilat but in all schools, and we have to protect the rights of teaching staff lawfully,” she said on Sunday.
Citing that violence towards teachers is reported nearly twice a week, she noted a more recent case in Nazareth where a parent physically assaulted a teacher.
While these are the cases that are reported, there are still many that go unaccounted for.
Lital – not her real name – a high school teacher told The Jerusalem Post of an incident that happened to her, which she did not report: “Last week a few students sat on a bench outside my classroom and when I tried to step out they kicked the door closed. At first I just asked them to stop but they kept kicking it at me. One was kicking the door and the rest were laughing. I really felt I was being bullied.”
Placing responsibility on social media and the online world, Ben-David told the Post that “this is not just happening in Israel and it is a global phenomenon that comes from the Internet: Whatsapp groups and Facebook – the whole online atmosphere is becoming more and more violent and the lines are continuing to be blurred between what goes on online and in the real world.”
On Sunday, Ben-David went to Eilat to support the affected teacher and issued a statement, which demanded that the Education Ministry together with the police, Justice Ministry, Defense Ministry and psychological services, devise a national plan that will enforce punishment against violence in the classroom.
Ben-David also warned that if nothing was done to improve the safety of Israel’s teaching staff, the entire education system will be shut down.