Alarm bells are being raised about violence in schools.

One union says it is on the rise.

Susan Lucek, a president with the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, says staff are scrambling for help.

"As education workers, as frontline staff, we say the increase in violence is not because educators and parents don't care about kids. It's because the government hasn't invested in increasing the boots on the ground, educators in front of kids," says Lucek.

Lucek says of the $24 million the Ministry of Education set aside to reduce the risk of violence in schools, only a small fraction is being allocated to educational assistance for students in need.

COPE would like to see an increase in education support workers in the classroom.

The NDP's Education Critic Chandra Pasma feels the level of violence in schools in Ontario is at crisis levels.

"Classrooms are being evacuated daily, teachers and education workers are being injured on the job, workers are being given kevlar to wear in the classroom, and workers and students are being told they need to get better at dodging," says Pasma.

"The mental health of our kids is suffering, but the resources aren't there to support them. In our schools, large class sizes and a lack of educational support staff mean kids aren't getting the help and attention they need, and that leads to frustration."
Pasma says education workers should not have to put their bodies on the line or go to work with protective gear as experienced by some education staff.

"We need to properly address this epidemic of violence in our schools with mental health resources, additional staff and training on safe intervention and de-escalation. We need the government to start working collaboratively and respectfully with teachers and education workers instead of constantly undermining them and disrespecting them."