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SCHOOLS have paid up to $242,000 each to stressed-out teachers
At the state's worst-hit government school, in Melbourne's inner north, five staff members went on paid stress leave in two years.
At another government school, in Melbourne's east, four stressed teachers were paid and replaced during more than 2000 days off, Freedom of Information documents show.
But the Victorian WorkCover Authority, which pays the teachers' wages on behalf of insured schools, has refused to name them.
Australian Principals Federation president Terry Howard said that bullying from parents and attacks from students in difficult schools were a problem.
"If you are under physical or violent threat it can affect some people very badly," he said. "Community pressure and lack of department support is a significant problem."
The state's worst-hit private school -- in Melbourne's inner east -- has paid $151,666 in two years to four teachers who were on stress leave.
Again the VWA has refused to name the school.
In all, four schools have each lost four teachers to stress leave in the past two years, while at least 12 schools have each covered three teachers.
Australian Education Union Victoria president Mary Bluett said the high number of teachers who succumbed to stress at schools often pointed to leadership problems.
"Those schools are easy to identify but the department is slow to intervene," she said.
Ms Bluett said stress problems could also indicate a difficult group of students.
"If you are exposed to violent behaviour, that is a significant stress, and it can be frightening," she said.
VWA's tally of 326 schools that paid stress leave to employed teachers in the past two years included 60 private schools.
Individual schools pay premiums, based on their claims history, for employee insurance through WorkCover.
An Education Department spokeswoman said the number of teachers making stress-related WorkCover claims represented just 0.2 per cent of the total workforce of more than 41,700 teachers and had been declining.
Opposition education spokesman Victor Perton said principals and teachers who had complained about violence in their schools did not get enough backing from the department.
"Teachers are literally in fear or trepidation of some students.
The figures are no surprise," he said.
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