A teacher survey launched this week investigates violence and aggression shown by pupils in elementary schools, says the union representing 83,000 elementary education workers.

“As (violence) is increasing, our governments are doing less and less,” said David Mastin, vice-president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario that represents teachers, education and professional support workers and early childhood workers. “Our members are experiencing this on the front lines, and children’s mental health is not being addressed adequately anywhere, let alone in our schools.

“It’s reaching epidemic levels and something needs to be done about it. But we need to collect the data before we can push and advocate for things we think are important.”

The online workplace violence survey will take place from Feb. 8 to March 8, with focus groups held near the end of March.

The federation is hoping raising awareness will lead to action to address what it says is an increase of incidents of violence beginning more than a decade ago.