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20 October 2014, 15:08
Almost half of Scottish councils have seen a rise in assaults on teachers by pupils in the last three years, according to new figures.
Fourteen of the country's 32 councils reported an increase between 2011/12 and 2013/14.
Ten councils saw the number of assaults drop in that period, according to figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives following a freedom of information request.
Overall, there were 1,879 incidents in 2013/14, which was down on 2012/13 but 16% higher than 2011/12.
Staff reported being subjected to physical attacks such as punching, kicking, pushing and shoving, and also verbal assaults.
In the last year, one teacher reported having a stone thrown at their head, while others reported being kicked, pushed and spat on.
Scottish Conservative young people spokeswoman Liz Smith MSP said: "It's absolutely right that a zero-tolerance approach to this sort of behaviour is taken in schools.
"Teachers should not be subjected to any form of assault, no matter how minor it may appear. It just should not happen.
"It's important therefore to make sure teachers feel empowered to take the necessary action and, where necessary, head teachers should not shy away from expelling pupils who are persistent, serious trouble-makers and who are preventing others from getting on in the classroom.
"We shouldn't demonise pupils, but it is nevertheless vital that teachers do not feel threatened in their own work environment.
"We therefore need to look at putting more preventative strategies in place to deal with any pupils who demonstrates a pattern of abusive behaviour towards teaching staff and other pupils.''
Renfrewshire Council reported the highest number of incidents in 2013/14, with 277 assaults made on staff, while Stirling and the Western Isles reported one each.
The other eight Scottish councils either did not respond to the freedom of information request or did not provide full figures.