Violence Against Teachers and School Staff

Posted on by Administrator

classroom with students at desks and a teacher at the chalkboardTo date, NIOSH intramural and extramural workplace violence research has focused on the highest risk occupations, including health care workers, taxi cab drivers, and retail sales. Because of an increase in the prevalence of school-based policies aimed at reducing violence in youth and recent reports suggesting that teachers and other school staff may face daily threats of workplace violence, NIOSH was prompted to examine risk factors and prevention polices and practices for workplace violence for K-12 school staff. Recent data demonstrates that teachers experience 39 crimes per 1,000 teachers (25 thefts and 14 violent crimes) and the true rate may be much higher since most incidents go unreported. As recent media reports have illustrated, this is a troubling problem affecting school personnel in elementary, middle and high schools across the nation.

Communities and schools have responded to student-on-student violence through school-based violence prevention programs and policies, yet science-based evaluations of the effectiveness of these programs are rare. It is not known if these programs have any effect on workplace violence rates in teachers and school staff.

With the exception of a recent study by the University of Minnesota which focused only on teachers, NIOSH is undertaking what we believe to be the first study to evaluate the effect of school-based violence prevention programs addressing assaults from students on both teachers and other school staff. Limited prior studies of workplace violence in the teaching field have relied on workers compensation records due to a variety of reasons, including teachers unwillingness to report violent events to police, insufficient reporting mechanisms for reporting non-physical workplace violence events, and acceptance of the risk of workplace violence in the education field. The scant research available demonstrates that teachers and other school employees may be at an increased risk for theft of personal property, verbal threats of physical harm, bullying, abuse, physical assault, and injury.

Working with partners, including the two leading national education unions, NIOSH decided to conduct the study in Pennsylvania as the state includes large urban and rural school districts. The study aims to describe and quantify physical and non-physical workplace violence against teachers and school staff; measure the impact of physical and non-physical workplace violence on job satisfaction and the mental health of teachers and school staff; and determine if nonfatal work-related assault rates are significantly lower in schools that employ student-directed violence prevention programs.

The study and the survey that will be used to collect the data are in the development stage. As we begin this research, NIOSH would like to use the NIOSH Science Blog to hear from teachers, school staff, administrators, and union representatives about prevention programs in their schools and their perceptions of what is and is not working to protect teachers and other school staff.

School violence is a complex issue, and studying workplace violence in the school setting has unique challenges. It is important to protect the health and safety of the professionals who educate and support our youth. We appreciate your comments. They will be invaluable in informing this research and ultimately the evidence-based prevention programs that are generated.

Hope Tiesman, Ph.D., MSPH

Dr. Tiesman is an injury epidemiologist in the Division of Safety Research at NIOSH and the project officer on this study.

NIOSHs extensive research on preventing workplace violence is detailed on the NIOSH website including the NIOSH video, Violence on the Job, which can be downloaded or viewed via streaming video.

More information on student-related violence can be found at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control including the School-Associated Violent Death Study.

Posted on by AdministratorTags ,

66 comments on “Violence Against Teachers and School Staff”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    No school is exempt from possible violence. However, I am convinced that the rise in violence in our society is due to the lack of an ideological basis for our actions and behavior. We have actively and inaccurately taught public school students that belief in God does not matter enough to talk about in school. That is a HUGE mistake. We cut the ideological base out from under our children!

    Secondly, it doesn’t matter if you think the Bible is the inspired Word of God or not, it is still the foundation for U.S. law and interaction among human beings in the American society. However, the Bible is avoided like the plague and almost complete ignorance of biblical truth reigns in our society and our schools. Biblical ignorance and lack of faith are the two essential elements required for restoration of civility and they are the most important part of Kingsway’s methodology of prevention of violence and development of positive character in our students.

    Hello, this is great , because I was hit buy an aggresive student and hardly nothing was done, and by the time action is taking someone can get hurt. Please continue the good work and innitiative your group is taken, most of these situations on violance are never reported, it’s one of the reasons it continues like in a vicious circle. I was affected imotionally and even took pills and got panic attacks, and even felt someone was following me, it was a terrible experience in my more than 30 years teaching it had never happened and it was supposed to be one of the best schools in town. A much better supervision or investigation or study has to continue on this matter so I congratulate all your people that are putting all thier efforts to continue actions toward this dangerous genetrations or sub-cultures that are evolving.If there is any way that I can contribute to your organization feel free to contact me. Even now I am retired this situation kind of hunts me and has affected me in great deal, my sleep, nerves and daily life. ThankYou and good luck.

    I am not in education, but I have been in law enforcement in various capacities for the past 30 years. As a Security Manager for a hospital, I read a lot about workplace violence. I have a question about your proposed study and then a comment. Why would you not include student-on-student violence in this study? I ask this because I believe everything we do is influenced by where we find ourselves. An environment of violence between anyone tends to increase the acceptance, and perceived effectiveness, of violence. Violence ignored is violence allowed. I believe workplace violence can be reduced if we are all willing to combine preparation and preparedness with an appropriate and unwavering response.

    We must also understand that violence is whatever a person thinks it is.

    Response to any perceived violence must be commensurate with the reality and the perception of the event. We have to lose the “That could never happen here” mentality that seems to precede so much violence. We can be polite and courteous without surrendering our innate caution to some misperception of how things should be, and fail to recognize how they really are.

    Our study does incorporate an examination of student violence prevention programs, in regard to whether the rate of violence against school workers is lower in schools with such programs. NIOSH’s mission is research and outreach to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths, and our authority does not extend to nonoccupational issues of health and safety. However, we are committed to working with other agencies and organizations that are examining student-on-student violence, such as the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, to join our respective areas of expertise in the development of comprehensive violence prevention programs.

    Violence not only occurs in K-12, but also in our colleges and universities. Several years ago a college student entered one of the classrooms at Ferris State University and shot his professor to his death – in front of his classmates. Of course, this made national news!

    The professor was just beginning his career.

    Frightening. We do have a problem with violence in our schools at all levels and your research will provide insight in the right direction for further study and action.

    Good luck!

    Understanding, researching and working to prevent violence in the school workplace is essential. The basis of all education is the protection of the health, safety and welfare of all students and staff so that, hopefully, students can learn at a maximum and teachers can teach at a maximum in a safe and orderly environment. I welcome the study as the more we know, the better we will be equipped to resolve the problem.

    Great to hear that you are doing a study. My company trains instructors for many schools in Pa. in a curriculum known as Safe Crisis Management. It is a comprehensive program that equips school personnel with a capacity to prevent, de-escalate, provide emergency response and complete appropriate after action tasks when students engage in unruly or dangerous behavior. We have been doing a survey on some of our outcomes with schools across the country. We have some data that may be of interest to you.

    It is our experience that most schools (save special education programs) pay little attention to preparing teachers for the behavior issues they will face with today’s students. In particular, they are not prepared to deal with serious misbehavior. In service training is relegated to a minimum – and is most often focused on curriculum issues. This doesn’t make sense when you calculate the fact that teachers are responsible for one third of the students daily life experience. When teachers are trained on behavior issues they are more confident in everything they do. Students recognize this confidence and respond accordingly.

    We need to begin to think differently about the mission of education – it must become wider in scope and encompass social growth and development, as well as, academic achievement.

    “We need to begin to think differently about the mission of education – it must become wider in scope and encompass social growth and development, as well as, academic achievement.”

    Very well said. I couldn’t agree more and hope that education continues to push in this direction.

    While looking into this, please also look into the incidence of workplace bullying against teachers. It is very common in education generally. The Waitt Institute against Violence teamed with the Workplace Bullying Institute to fund the Zogby poll last summer. The results show a staggering 37% are personally victims.

    If any teacher is struggling with this in Wasington State, you can contact the workplace bullying institute at [] and/or email [] for support.

    Hi, I am a new teacher in an urban setting and also working on my graduate degree in education. In the past six months I have been the victim of several verbal attacks and have heard of a least 3 physicall assults on teachers by students. For a Social Foundations class I am taking I have choosen to study the ideological forces that perpetuate this type behavior in students against teachers. I am very intersted in any information that may be helpful in developing my paper because I have found it quite imposible to find information that did not include student to student violence. I also wish to extend my best wishes to you and your study as I hope it may shed some greatly need light on the situation help create a better future for all involved.

    Please don’t eliminate ALL LEVELS of Special Ed. in your studies. Something needs to be done about it because not only are the staff at risk but the other sweet/precious students in class with them are in danger of being seriouly harmed as well. If the other parents only knew how violent some Special Ed. students can be they would never allow their child to be within ten feet of the violent student never mind in the same setting.

    There is usually one or two in every class and there is insufficient staffing provided to deal with them. There are special programs for the violent students but then whatever School District that student lives in has to “foot the bill” and those programs are very expensive due to the fact that they have sufficient facilities and staffing. Public school is not the place for these students.

    Amen, teachers are not trained in mental psychosis or socio-pathology which seems to be rampant and evident in even the primary elementary classroom. There is no way that the needs of those students can be met. Not only that, the remainder of the students have to be subject to such violence on a regular basis and then we ask why the rate of students with anxiety is so high and rising?

    I was a parapro at a highschool in a selfcontained emotional behavior disorder. This had been my fourth year in this setting. Up to the present time I had a good respectful relationship with most of my students. They had come from diffrent back grounds but all had the same needs of needing structure with being treated respectfully and beging held accountable for their actions.

    That came to an end when we recieved the freshmen students from the adjoing middle schools. These students had been in very structured classrooms at alternative school and never with the regular student population. Most had been in Jail at some time or another for voilent acts.

    This was very difrent from the behavior of the other students I had worked with. I and the teacher was continualled bullied and physically and mentally threatened. These students were beyond our capabilities and needed psycothearpy in a much stricter enviorment than what a regular high school can give.

    When I went to the athorities, the principle, three assitant principles, and school officer, they all asked one question,”what did you do to cause the student to behave this way?” When the teacher went to the school councelor for help to allivate fights within the classroom he was told, “You are the teacher you can handle the situation.”

    We recieved no backup from any athority allowing the students to continue and grow more bold in there threats. I had to take a medical leave after having panic attacks and sever mental depression. I went into an intensive therapy and am now on my way to a strong recovery. I am sad to say that I can never go back to that situation but deeply miss the kids that had true behavior problems that stemmed from Autism and other related proplems.

    I am researching violence against teachers and am looking for data on the teachers not the students as well as cost data. If anyone has infor on this or links it would certainly be appreciated.

    The best resource for national data on violent events to teachers is the National Center for Educational Statistics. They support a survey called “Indicators of School Crime and Safety.” One of the collected indicators is the nonfatal teacher victimization rate. The 2005-2006 data is currently summarized in the link provided below:
    Best of luck!

    The best data to collect would be within the school setting. If it were possible (legal) to spend a couple months within even an elementary school. There are at times 1 or 2 violent students per class.

    My school has recently withdrawn most services of the Dean’s Office, where teachers make discipline referrals. We were advised to more closely distinguish between benign and hostile swearing. So we must consider the context in which someone utters m*****f***** before we “overreact”. Also, we cannot make any discipline referrals until we have documented three incidents and three parent phone calls for the behavior issue in question.

    We are also being asked to more closely monitor our own inappropriately confrontational behavior.

    There is all manner of horribly offensive verbal abuse and threatening behavior toward teachers at my school, but we are being asked to calmly continue teaching when these incidents occur, and not interrupt instruction to request help. With a loud and aggressive high school student, this seems like an overwhelming, almost impossible task.

    I have been a successful teacher for 4 years. I started teaching at a new school this year in the first grade and have seen things at this school that I have never seen in my life. I have had to evacuate my class several times this year because of a violent student. He has thrown chairs, spit on me and students, thrown books, etc. I am worried about the safety of the other students in my class. We have tried several interventions with the counselor, behavior contracts, etc. Other teachers are experiencing similar experiences. As a school, we are recieving no help from the district in addressing these violent behaviors. We keep hearing that “all students have the right to an education.” We are worried about the rest of the students in our school. What are our rights as teachers? What rights do the other students have? Please help!!!

    Thank you for sharing your story and concerns on this topic. We have heard similar stories through our interaction with educational unions, school districts, and various departments of education. As a result of this research study, we hope to learn about possible risk and protective factors for violence directed at teachers and paraprofessionals. This is a first step in the development of polices and training programs aimed at reducing such incidents. All schools and school districts in the U.S. are run at the state level. Therefore, policies and guidelines can vary dramatically from state to state and district to district. Teachers unions also vary by state and district. You may want to review your district policies or consult your teachers union.

    I am a prospective teacher at a school in Trinidad in the West Indies. I am quite aware of the incidents of violence against teachers but I still chose to do my Bachelor’s degree in Education. The number of incidents have been on the rise in my point of view. We can only pray for a drastic change.

    In Texas a teacher has the right to remove a student permanently from their class. This is not a very openly discussed right and I think many teachers are unaware that they have this choice. I have never used it, but I have informed very difficult students that choice. I also tell them while they are in my classroom, no one will be disrespected including students.

    After 30 years of teaching, the last 8 in middle school, I feel 95% of the violent acts can be avoided. Just like life, 5% of negative events just happen.

    We are living in a dangerous world. School is a reflection of our world.

    I wish it was possible to analyze all the events that lead up erupting violence.

    I was involved in hundreds of assaults, fights, riots, etc. during my 35 year career. In my 32nd year I actually paid for training dealing with armed/unarmed attacks. I felt this training was necessary to protect innocent students, teachers, and myself from aggressive behavior. My training is similar to the training provided to unarmed ATF agents. I proposed this training to the NEA and I was basically ignored. Schools would rather see teachers an innocent bystanders injured rather than face lawsuits from the “thugs”. I thought I would be a teacher trainer and mentor to educators to talk about proactive and physical aspects of assaults but most teachers, administrators and school boards just hope they will be exempted from violence. I cannot believe that people can live with themselves after being touched by violence and not prepare for the eventual results.

    The University environment, unfortunately, is equally full of bullying, threatening and harrassing behavior toward teachers. I was shocked at how poorly administration handled a situation that escalated out of control when the early signs were so obvious. I learned a great deal about the covert factors in Universities that, despite “education” and knowledge, may actually have a greater impact on whether or not that knowledge gets applied and appropriate interventions implemented. I am planning to become involved in writing about the prevention of violence toward teachers. All too often teachers are marginalized victims, at every grade level, of the educational system. How many will be shot (along with their students who may be in the way) before we look at Universities?

    Those “bullies” in grade school, do go on to college. By the time they’ve gotten to college, they may be even better skilled at doing harm via ‘nonphysical’, less obvious, but equally harmful means. K-12 is a good start. Now we need follow-through. We’re seeing the shootings…the build-up has been happening for a long time.

    We can all participate in prevention, much like we can participate in working toward the prevention of domestic violence or rape prevention, but it takes more than the victim to stop it. Right now, some teachers are silent sufferers who first need a voice.

    I am a teacher in a special education center for emotionally disturbed high school students. I have been threatened almost daily with students coming at me with lunch trays, throwing desks, chairs and whatever they can find.

    The verbal abuse is debilitating, the work environment is poor.

    Administration is too busy trying to look good so she refuses to address the problem. So I have organized a meeting with my union rep to address teacher safety and teacher’s rights to call the police and file charges against violent students. They don’t belong in special ed much like June pointed out above. They are what is called socially maladjusted or conduct disorder which is not a special education placement. Many high schools can’t wait to offload violent student to special education sites so they can be done with them.

    Teachers stand up and be counted, we deserve and we are promised a safe and healthful workplace by our state and federal occupational health and safety laws. Demand your rights or principals will let you suffer in silence!

    I have been an educational assistant for 14 years. I work in a schoolboard that promotes inclusion. We say that all children deserve an education. I’m working with a student who is violent regularly and I’m worn out. I understand that this student has a right to an education, but so do the rest of the students in the school who’s safety is at risk. And what about the safety of myself and this violent student? I do not feel equipped to help this child get an education when he is ustable most of the time. I love my students but I feel public education is not for everyone. The situation is frustrating to say the least. I am at a loss.

    Thank you for your comment. We have heard similar stories through our interaction with educational unions, school districts, and various departments of education. Please see the response to comment 13 above.

    I am a middle school special education teacher. This year I have two students who came from a behavior disorders room into my low incidence room. I am verbally assulted all day, every day. I am bit, punched, kicked, scratched and pinched about three times a week. Nothing is done about it. I will not be working there next year. I spend three days a week in pt for an injury sustained attempting to restrain one of the students.

    My other students are missing out on a lot of instruction time as a result. They are also witness to these events—very, very sad.

    I am a first year teacher in 6th grade social studies in a school designated as ‘intense’ and needing remedial action. Almost a 1/3rd of my students are designated special education. Since social studies and science are deemed lower priorities than ELA and Math, we receive absolutely no help in the classroom managing these special education students, yet are called upon to deliver their accommodations regardless and provide effective instruction to all the students.

    Discipline for special education students is non-existent and regular students see them getting away with these deviant behaviors and believe they can act the same way. Consequently, the regular education students act in a similarly deviant manner as the special education students.

    I’ve experienced 9 fights in my classroom so far this year. I’ve been hit and kicked several times. I’ve been robbed and experienced verbal threats including students verbal daydreams about putting a ‘bag over my head’.

    When reporting these incidents, I have been told that it is my fault and that I need to work on my classroom management. Occasionally, they will admit the students are out of control, but there isn’t much they can do about it.

    In a time when our youth needs education more than ever to compete globally, we’re failing to address real issues that stand in the way – lack of family structure, lack of support for education from the ‘family’, home violence, chemical dependencies, gang activity, lack of personal ambition to better themselves among many contributing factors.

    If parents/families can not stop these problems, how in the world can a teacher be expected to reverse the tide of deviant influences students encounter. We’re trying but we’re facing a tidal wave of oppositional factors.

    We need to incorporate the full scope of the situation and stop conveniently blaming teachers for our lack of educational progress.

    Until we do, we are doomed to fail.

    Thank to Marsha, Post#7. As budget concerns rise steadily, the teachers I know live with the threat of RIFs and Displacements continuously. This is like having an axe over our heads. Some administrators and, yes, teachers, too have latched onto that fear as a means of psychological violence. The profession that I love has become a very unsafe one.

    Several teachers have been repeatedly framed, resulting in disciplinary action and the need for union interventions. The Workplace Bullying Institute is great, but nearly all teachers are afraid of being whistleblowers, and finding themselves unsupported by adminstration, district, and even the union. There ought to be a law!

    I applaud this effort. I taught for ten years before choosing to enter a different field this month because I simply did not feel safe in my school. Two incidents I reported were completely mishandled by administrators. In my experience, school leadership has absolutely no understanding of BASIC employee rights to work in a safe, non-threatening environment. Their failure to define and/or follow any protocol made me feel even more unsafe than the aggressors themselves (in one case a fellow teacher, in the other case a student.) Teachers have a fundamental right to a work environment free of threats, harrassment, and physical and mental risk. If I’m wrong – if risk is a reasonable part of the job description – I would love to know when their work will be given the status and protections of other hazardous duty professions (such as teachers who work in correctional facilities.)

    I used to work as a teacher, and I understand this matter clearly. I have also heard that teachers experience 39 crimes per 1,000 teachers. This is NOT a pretty sight. Teachers and school staff should have protection as well. I saw on TV several reports about kids bringing guns to school. Banning firearms should effectively be implemented in elementary, middle and high schools across the country. Thanks for this helpful post! — Diane

    I have begun my 33rd year of teaching this year. I am considered a very good teacher by all in my district–a teacher with excellent discipline.

    However, this year, in one of my elementary-aged classes, a severely disturbed special ed student has been placed in a general ed class with regular students. This child has been known to tear the arms and legs off of live animals and/or drown animals. Within the 1st 3 weeks of the school year, this student has bitten 3 students and has not produced any classwork that can be considered for grading. The biting incidents have all occurred outside of the classroom environment but each day is like waiting for a time bomb to explode, wondering when this student will decide to bite or harm any of the innocent students or even myself.

    Previous teachers of this student have bite mark scars on their arms.

    Where are the rights of the innocent? Where are the rights of law abiding teachers and students? When this child becomes an adult–and possibly truly injures someone– both he and his family members will be shocked to find that there are consequences for violent acts. Schools, in creating laws that allow violent behavior with no consequences are setting up a future society of random violence. Public schools are no place for students who commit violent acts. Counseling of these students? 30 minutes a week by an elementary-level counselor whose primary concern is lunch and leaving the workplace on time is hardly the solution to helping a student who endangers an entire school. For the first time in my teaching career, I can honestly say that I am frightened for my students and for myself! Where are our rights?

    I work at a special ed center for ED students. My car has been vandalized with $2800 to repaint the key down both sides of my vehicle. I paid the $500 deductible. Tough luck said the district. OH darn said the principal.

    Are you sure it was a student? They refuse to put video surveillance which could quickly stop this.

    I have had my life threatened numerous times all the way to the day before court for felony threats and the judge reduced it to a misdemeanor.This year my life was threatened, my vehicle was threatened and I found my gas cap open. When I reported this to the site administrator she said there was nothing that could be done. The student had his parent come down and explain that his son had emotional problems. Really? The fact is that this is a purely willful act of misconduct, yet they go to the courts and plead it was a result of their disability and get a pass. This student never even got a detention for saying he was going to bash my head in and skull—- me and had a cemetery plot picked out for me. I have called CAl-OSHA and they have no remedy for students pushing and shoving me almost daily, barging into the classroom doors, etc.

    Where are teacher’s rights to a safe and healthy place to work?

    I have spent the last few days researching violence against teachers and I have not found much of anything on students drugging teachers during class time. Do you have any statistics or cases on this subject??

    The only thing I see is it is difficult to prosecute because it is difficult to prove. Any stats would be appreciated as we wait for test results to come back from the crime lab.

    The students remain in school while the teacher is out…where are the teacher’s rights in this?

    We did not specifically ask about this issue in our survey, and we are unaware of research or data from other sources. We would welcome any discussion your comment might prompt on this blog. We suggest contacting your educational union as a possible source of information and support for the teacher involved in the incident to which you allude.

    Is this study still ongoing? What about assaults & threats from parents or other adults toward elementary school teachers. I have experienced that repeatedly. Another area to look at is actual safety from outsiders. I have experienced groups of teenagers banging or throwing rocks at windows after school hours while teachers are trying to prepare for the next day. It is viewed as “not a big deal… just kids.”

    I was also recently assaulted by an intruder in the building in my classroom during the school day. I would love to share more info with researchers. And I think many other teachers would too.

    I am an assistant principal in Ohio. Currently, there is little data on assaults in our state. Why is there no reporting law? I was seriously assaulted by 2 students and my assault was reported as an accident. How can this be amended?

    As you analyze the data you have collected I hope you will disaggregate the data based on age levels. I think primary teachers (K-3) have multiple informal contacts with parents/ guardians that can be violent or threatening. Whereas the interaction with the adults as the children get older seems to be more likely to be by phone or in formal settings.

    One of the problems we have is that people come up with solutions to fit a general picture of a problem that is based mostly on HS or MS information. Then when we try to implement it at primary levels it doesn’t work.

    Thanks for looking into this problem. When it comes from teachers it is easily dismissed. We need help with this.

    The data collection phase of the study has ended and we are working on analyses. Preliminary analyses indicate that the vast majority of physical assaults are perpetrated by students (95%). In our study, only 3% of physical assaults are perpetrated by parents, guardians, and other ‘outsiders.’ Data for the non-physical events (such as verbal threats) has not yet been analyzed. We would be happy to share our results with you once analyses are complete. We hope to use this data to further inform researchers and develop intervention strategies to prevent the instances that you have experienced.

    Teachers experiencing violent or threatening students might learn from the 2011 Arizona shooting and information that was broadcast in the news.

    Call the Police to determine your State’s procedure for recommending someone for a mental evaluation. You need to have these suspected offenders evaluated. Only then will their parents take the issues seriously. Further the evaluators can have the courts proceed with mental ajudication restricting the potentially harmful person from legally purchasing a firearm.

    Another thought I had is that it would be interesting to examine the effect legislation has had on the reporting of violence against teachers.

    I know in NY the Safe Schools legislation led to schools that addressed violence to be labeled as persistently dangereous. That was part of the “school report card.”

    The result is that even though dangerous things were still happening there is tremendous pressure to not have that officially recorded. Once it is it has to be included in the state report.

    If the primary aim of the administration is to have these things stay concealed it leads to reponses that are counter productive when truly dangerous situations are taking place.

    Thank you for the comments. Yes, we do plan on examining rates of workplace violence by age level. We were very specific in our directions to our study participants to include events perpetrated by students, parents, and co-workers. Our sample included teachers of all levels as well as educational support staff. We expect to find different patterns of violence based on occupation, as well as on the age levels you mentioned.

    I applaud you for addressing violence against teachers. As others have indicated, it’s difficult to find any research on this topic. My wife, an elementary school teacher in Carrollton, TX, was viciously bullied and emotionally abused by her principal to the point of having serious physical and emotional symptoms (panic attacks, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, etc.) This went on for nearly 8 months until she resigned from her position, in the interest of her health and well-being. Unfortunately, there are no remedies available through the school district (they’re biased to support the principal) or through the justice system (employers can legally harass employees provided they aren’t members of a protected class due to race, religion, etc.)

    School violence should always be one of the top priorities for research and resolutions today. It should be fully supported as it has a great impact on society particularly on minor students.

    Teachers Business

    My entire school is a war zone. Our district has dumped hundreds of violent students into our school, and fights, threats, theft and injury is commonplace and daily. Our principal is busy planning his next school assignment while the rest of us are facing reduction in force (layoffs) and just trying to survive this school year. I don’t know any staff member that isn’t suffering physical or phycological issues directly related to the abuse by students and the district. Our situation is impossible without quality leadership, which we lack. Our school has been written off.

    Teachers these days are very brave and dedicated people. Having to deal with all those problems, and receive such as low salaries.

    I am a prospective teacher at a school in England. I am quite aware of the incidents of violence against teachers.

    Our strategy is mainly to make them feel comfortable and recognise their strengths.

    We take our students to trips and other activities, where they feel closer to their teachers and improve the atmosphere of the class.

    Last Year, I took my students to a school trip in Paris to build strong relationships with the students to keep them active and away from criminal activities.

    We booked our trip with who gave us a good deal and included activities to improve team building.

    Thanks for addressing this issue, however if we try and go a step further we can always tackle this issue.


    I am a paraprofessional at an alternative in upstate NY. I have been personally attacked as every other staff member in the school. Administration will do nothing and have informed us not to write-up students. Unfortunately, our Unions don’t seem to take us seriously. The principal has verbally abused us and in front of students. I feel it’s just a matter of time before a student brings a gun in. It’s frightening and I am very depressed. I will try and hang on but at this point, I don’t even care.

    It’s disturbing to hear that the safety of teachers has become such a risk. I would be curious to know how valid this data is now as the research is several years old. There are a number of great initiatives promoting safe schools in school districts throughout North America, but I have not heard of initiatives that directly target teacher safety. As a graduate and teaching abroad at the moment, it concerns me to know that upon returning to North America I may be at serious risk in my profession. I hope this problem is addressed in the right manner to ensure the safety of our teachers.

    School can also be a dangerous place if we take it for granted. This more especially true with person who are dealing with autism. Not all understand autism.

    Very good.These days ,Everybody should learn violence against.Do you agree with me that our students level of proficiency in violence against is hopelessly low.

    I would like to know if there is legislation here in NJ re unassisted Asperger students in the classroom. Lots of research but I couldn’t find any actual accountability. Thanks.

    We must agree the ‘inclusion policy’ has too be amended.
    Educators are being hurt, along with students. We have
    too wake up and admit this reality. That select special
    needs pupils, who are violent on a constant basis, must
    be expelled too other forms of support.

    We must be proactive in supporting children who
    want to learn, and educators who want too teach
    without fearing for their safety. The abuse has gone
    on too far. #Stop school violence!

    I am posting anonymously.

    I, too, work in special education. Students and parents have all the rights and all the power. I have worked with special ed students for over 20 years and have loved it. I am proud of the work my colleagues and I do. However, I think after this school year, I am done. We can make so much progress helping most students— if we truly get the time with these kiddos that they need. Instead, we are frequently ‘in crisis’, meaning multiple teaching staff must respond to behavioral emergencies. It can take hours to de-escalate these students, while special ed students who behave appropriately miss out on their instruction. My colleagues and I have been repeatedly hit, kicked, punched, bitten, spat at… staff have endured dislocations, black eyes, and even permanent physical disabilities. It usually takes most of the school year to jump through legal hoops to try to have repeatedly violent students reassigned to a more appropriate school/facility, especially when parents fight it. We have some wonderfully supportive administration but also those who have told us, “It’s like this everywhere.” Result? We are leaving the field of education in droves.
    This does not only involve special ed staff. General education staff witness violence in their classrooms against gen ed students, often those whom disturbed students see as weak and inferior, making them targets.
    Many educators take training on ensuring a safe workplace. How can we ensure students feel safe when we are not safe? I agree with others who discuss PTSD and other psychological effects on staff.
    Is today the day I will be beaten up?
    Why would I remain in education?
    I am sorry for the students who will not benefit from my abilities next school year, and the years after. I hope I can find a non-ed job which brings me such satisfaction.

    Google New Rochelle High School Violence, NY. In the course of a week a student was stabbed to death and another was stabbed two times in his Spanish Class. The teachers are not allowed to call 911. In this situation they contacted the student’s Grand Mother and suggested she take him to the Urgent Treatment Center to be looked at. The student was seriously injured and nobody called an ambulance. There are several interesting articles about the school violence.

    School can also be a dangerous place if we take it for granted. This more especially true with person who are dealing with autism. Not all understand autism.

    All of these are very valid points, but the worse type of violence is nonphysical violence perpetrated by some administrators against teachers.
    Bullying in schools are steady rising. During the start of the pandemic teachers started walking out with a majority of complaints against administrators and the non-violent attacks they were submitted to. Mental abuse is far longer reaching in health, but also the students that witness this form of abuse are witnessing the unaccountable actions of supervisors, thus feeding the vicious cycle!

    This problem is not going away anytime soon, unfortunately. With the current state of the world, it’s only going to get worse before it gets better schools are supposed to be safe havens for children to learn and grow. But in recent years, there has been an alarming increase in violence against teachers and school staff. This violence can take many forms, from physical assaults to death threats.

    That’s why it’s essential for schools to take action now to protect their teachers and staff.

    There are many steps that schools can take to prevent and reduce violence against teachers and staff. These steps include increasing security, implementing policies and procedures to prevent and respond to violence, and providing support and training for teachers and staff.

    Marta B Ronda

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments posted become a part of the public domain, and users are responsible for their comments. This is a moderated site and your comments will be reviewed before they are posted. Read more about our comment policy »

Page last reviewed: August 11, 2023
Page last updated: August 11, 2023