Pupils are continuing to assault hundreds of teachers in Tayside and Fife every year, new figures show.
Calls have been made for more support to be given to both school staff and pupils as the information, provided by councils through Freedom of Information, said victims include head teachers, deputy heads and additional support needs staff.
The figures show 239 attacks occurred in Fife with a further 232 in Dundee, 102 in Perth and Kinross and 42 in Angus.
Teachers at Montrose Academy experienced the largest number of assaults – 14 – in 2019 in Angus. Levenmouth Academy was the highest ranked in Fife with 20 recorded assaults.
Staff at the secondary school section of the Community School of Auchterarder reported 8 assaults in 2019. Dundee City Council refused to break its data down by school.
Incidents classed as “physical assault” range from being punched and kicked to being pushed.
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman and north-east MSP Liam Kerr described the figures as “incredibly concerning.”
He said: “It’s absolutely shocking that teachers are subjected to any form of assault, no matter how minor it may appear.
“Teachers do everything they can to ensure children are given the best opportunity to achieve in life.
“But it’s clear the loss of specialist support staff who work with pupils, sometimes with complex needs, is being felt in the classroom because they also do terrific work in curbing these incidents.
“These incredibly concerning figures highlight the negative impact of cuts imposed on councils by the Scottish Government.
“We shouldn’t demonise pupils, but it is nevertheless vital teachers do not feel threatened in their own work environment.
“This is why it is imperative staff are given additional support to ensure they feel safe to carry out their duties in the classroom.”
Tackling the problem, US style
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said all forms of violence are unacceptable and have no place in our schools or society.
“Violence towards anyone is unacceptable and the safety of our children, young people and staff at school is paramount,” she added.
She highlighted the ‘Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Scotland’ project as an example of one approach to tackling the problem.
MVP Scotland encourages people to take a stand against harassment, abuse and violence rather than just ignoring it. It is modelled on a similar scheme implemented in US schools and colleges.
“The Scottish Government, and our partners across the education sector, advocate an approach for schools and local authorities to work with pupils on the underlying reasons behind inappropriate behaviour.
“We want all pupils to respect their peers and staff and are supporting a number of programmes to promote positive relationships and tackle indiscipline, abuse and violence,” she added.