Iguarsivik teacher Pierre-Luc Bélisle tells Jane George of the Nunatsiaq News, here, that two students punched him in the stomach last month, and were back in school two days later:
“I thought there would be some consequence. I didn’t invent a story about a student. I am there to protect them, for their security, it’s my job,” said Bélisle, who felt his credibility as a teacher was put in doubt. “I think that’s unacceptable.”
After learning nothing had been done, Bélisle, who had already filed a police report on the incident, went to a doctor who put him on a two-week leave.
Belisle, who arrived last year, plans to leave at school year’s end.
As George reports, 15 of the school’s 21 teachers are non-Inuit. The school has about 260 students from Grade 4 to Secondary 5. Turnover is about 75 percent among the non-Inuit teachers, at least five of whom have taken leave to deal with injuries and trauma, she writes. As George further reports:
In recent years, Nunavik has experienced growing violence in its schools and against its students and teachers.
Countless episodes of vandalism, harassment and bullying in school classrooms and playgrounds have gone largely unreported.
The most horrific episodes include the shooting of a female teacher in Salluit in 2005 and the severe beating of a school principal in Kangiqsujuaq that same year. …
Over the years, Iguarsivik has faced other waves of violence. In 1993 the school and community were wracked by a series of violent incidents, which saw one teacher assaulted and several teachers’ homes vandalized.
Then, in 2006, student vandals ransacked the school, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
The school now has video surveillance, security entrance cards for staff, and hall monitors.
“The people who are losing out are the students,” says one teacher. “If we can’t help them, if there’s no follow-up by the administration, no program in the school against violence, how can we help educate the future citizens of Puvirnituq?”