Published Tuesday, 11 September 2012
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Over the last five years, 1,173 pupils have been suspended for an attack on a member of school staff - with that figure including over 240 children of primary school age.
"You just don't know when the attacks are going to come," one teacher, with more than 20 years experience in teaching children with special needs and behavioural problems, told UTV.
"And even though the attacks may not be dangerous or life threatening, the constant stress and strain does have an impact."
Cathy* has herself been attacked a number of times - the worst incident happened a few years ago.
"I was left with a full set of teeth marks on my upper arm, all the way through to the child's back teeth - it was a full set of teeth marks and a really big, big bruise," she said.
There's no point in filling in a whole pile of paperwork because nobody's going to come.
While the numbers of suspensions for pupil-teacher attacks are falling year-on-year, unions say that's because teachers aren't reporting all cases because they now accept violence as normal.
"People are loathe to report because we live in a litigious society," Mark Langhammer from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers told UTV.
"The issue escalates quite quickly from a child protection officer in the school to the Social Services, police, DPP, and so on. So I can understand why teachers want to bury it ..."
Cathy told UTV that she felt reporting attacks was basically a waste of time.
"These attacks aren't against me - these attacks are out-workings of the children's frustrations and poor self-management, so there's no action that's going to be taken," she said.
"There'll be no extra support made available to me. I have the training and behaviour management, so there's nothing extra for me to be able to access."
Teachers aren't the only ones to suffer as the result of attacks by pupils in schools, as children can often lash out against each other.
Once the children are inside my classroom door, I'm left to get on with it.
Over the last five years, 8,232 pupils have been suspended for attacks on other children. That's an average of almost seven a day.
Among the resources offered to teachers by unions - which can include legal resources and courses on classroom management - some offer what are essentially self-defence classes.
But with problems related to violence continuing in schools across Northern Ireland - and further afield - some teachers find themselves questioning how long they can continue to cope.
"The level of violence has gone up - the incidents aren't necessarily more violent, but the frequency is more. And it wears you down," Cathy said.
"There are times I feel I'm too tired, too exhausted, to keep going and facing that - and I look at other careers and other opportunities that are out there ..."
*Not her real name.