'Gangland culture' terrorising teachers
Out-of-control behaviour by some second-level students in disadvantaged areas is bordering on gangland culture.
Pupils as young as 14 or 15 are engaged in increasing levels of violence, which leave teachers in some schools with injuries such as broken bones and chipped teeth.
The injuries can be so serious that every term some teachers need hospital or other medical attention, and may not return to work because of the stress they suffered.
The issue was raised at the annual conference of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), which heard how teachers can run a daily gauntlet of abuse, intimidation and attack.
Audrey Cepeda of the Dublin city branch of the union, which has 1,000 members, said it used to be a case of teachers hoping they would have a good year, and then hope that it would be a good term, but now it was down to worrying about each 40-minute class.
She said that in some cases a "gangland culture" was now evident in schools.