North and north-east teachers are being attacked on a daily basis with weapons including BB guns, saws and classroom furniture.
Shocking figures have revealed hundreds of such incidents in schools across the region in the last academic year alone.
Between August 2017 and June of this year, 874 assaults were launched on teaching staff in the Highlands – 175 of these with weapons, while 217 of the 821 attacks involved weapons in Moray.
Aberdeen City Council said its data for last year is still being validated, but confirmed it had logged more than 1,000 assault incidents over the previous two school years.
There were 85 assaults in Aberdeenshire over the past year with details of 16 weapons recorded.
Documents from each of the councils, obtained by The P&J, show school staff have been forced to seize multi-tools, craft knives and maths compasses from youngsters in what are thought to have been pre-meditated attacks.
A large number of the incidents involved improvised weapons including darts, display boards, knitting needles and frying pans – all readily available during lessons.
The documents also show a largely upward trend in the number of attacks across the north of Scotland, with only Highland Council experiencing a decrease over each of the last three school years.Of the 764 attacks in Moray in 2015/16, 152 involved weapons. In the Highlands there were 183 weapons recorded as being used in the 1,033 attacks over the same year.
Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary, said: “It is alarming to hear that attacks on teachers are still so prevalent in our schools.
“Teachers should be able to enter the classroom without fear of assault.
“Quite frankly, it beggars belief that staff have been subjected to attacks with BB guns and saws in some examples. That is totally unacceptable.”
And North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “One attack on a teacher is one too many.
“Teachers, pupil support assistants and other school staff deserve full support in dealing with unruly behaviour, and young people need to be left in no doubt that physical violence towards staff at school is always unacceptable.”
A large number of initiatives have been put in place to cut down on the number of assaults in schools.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
Moray Council has assembled a specialist team to respond to violent situations then examine the incidents to identify triggers.
Meanwhile teachers in Aberdeenshire are given crisis and aggression management training to handle bad behaviour in the classroom.
Elsewhere Aberdeen City Council said a change from paper reporting to an online system was responsible for its increase in attack numbers and confirmed that its safety policies and guidance issued to staff are reviewed regularly.
A spokesman for Highland Council, where the only year-on-year decrease was seen, said: “Highland schools work closely with the police in ensuring pupils know we have zero tolerance when it comes to weapons in schools.
“Whatever the intent of pupils who bring such items into school, and it is usually clear there is no ill intent, they will be confiscated and appropriate actions taken – including discussion with the pupil and parents.
“This proactive approach is clearly having a positive impact.”
One north-east woman has spoken out about the “scary” circumstances she was forced to endure on a daily basis as a school teacher.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said she would regularly have chairs thrown at her across the classroom by disruptive children.
And on one occasion she was even kicked by a youngster, unhappy with the way they were being treated.
The teacher, who has since left the education sector, said she was “not surprised” that the number of attacks in schools is rising in most areas.
“A lot of this depends on the ethos of the school and the attitude of parents,” she said.
“Many have no respect for the staff or the head teacher any more and they say they ‘know their rights’.
“If they don’t like what you’re saying, or choose to believe their lying child, they will upscale their complaint to senior members of the education team.”
She added: “Once at my school we had parents fighting in the playground and the staff had to be protected from them.”
She said that parents’ encouragement of their unruly children can prove highly demoralising for teachers – but many soldier on for the sake of the rest of their class.
“It can knock your confidence and parent power can actually break a teacher nowadays if they’re not liked,” she added.
“But most teachers are there for the kids and want the best for them regardless of what they’re having to put up with.”