START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
704,848 people care about Education

Students Aren’t the Only Ones Facing Bullying in the Classroom

Students Aren’t the Only Ones Facing Bullying in the Classroom

“How can we keep our kids safe at school?” has been the question on many people’s minds in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut. A just-published study (pdf) by the American Psychological Association (APA) reveals that schools have also become a lot less safe for teachers, with 80 percent saying they have been victimized at school at least once.

Other statistics cited from one†survey of over 3,000 teachers (grades K-12 ) in 48 states†are just as alarming:

94 percent of the teachers surveyed said that students had victimized them.

44 percent said they had been being physically attacked.

72 percent said they had been harassed.

50 percent reported experiencing theft or property damage at school.

Reading these figures, one wonders if some will take this study as additional evidence that school staff should have carry firearms — and the answer must be an unequivocal no.

The APA study reports on what is a shockingly high incidence of violence against teachers in schools not to sensationalize the issue but to underscore that this is a “national crisis with far-reaching implications and deserves inclusion in the school violence equation,” says the study’s lead author, Dorothy Espelage of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.†That is, the APA study shows why it is all the more urgent to address why students might have “problem behaviors” that lead them to harass or victimize teachers.

Espelage’s article offers specific suggestions for making school safer for teachers:

1) Create a national registry of incidents: Currently, “general records” of incidents of violence against teachers are kept by local and state school agencies. A national registry would provide more information enabling us to “estimate the magnitude of the problem more accurately and develop targeted prevention.”

2) Focus on prevention: Teachers must be trained to focus on the reasons for problem behaviors occurring, instead of solely on how to stop a behavior once it happens.

3) Revising state licensure requirements: With #2 in mind, the study calls for all teachers to “master classroom management training before they are licensed to teach.”

4) Recognizing that “problem behaviors” in students can have complex causes: The study calls for collaboration among a broad spectrum of community-based organizations including after-school programs and social service agencies to create a “more integrated effort” in identifying and addressing why students or others might have behavior issues at school that compromise a teacher’s safety. I would also assert that parents and/or other parties responsible for caring for a child be included, in order to get the fullest possible picture of what is going on.

Teachers themselves, Espelage and her colleagues emphasize,†”play a powerfully pivotal role in reducing school violence” by what they do in the classroom. Teachers need to have a range of pro-active classroom practices at their disposal including “being consistent in modeling and rewarding positive behavior”; showing flexibility at transition times; and “building on student strengths, such as ethnic identity, rather than focusing exclusively on weaknesses or using punitive methods.”

The APA study is troubling, but it also shows how important it is to be aware that violence in schools affects students and teachers and to take action. It is unsettling to think that our schools have become such unsafe environments for students to learn in, for teachers to work in. If our teachers do not feel safe in their workplace, how can we expect students to?

 

Related Care2 Coverage

Should Teachers Carry Guns?

Please Donít Pathologize Aspergerís Syndrome

6 Worst Reactions to the Newtown Massacre

 

Read more: , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

133 comments

+ add your own
10:53PM PDT on May 14, 2013

Doesn't surprise me. A lot of kids at my junior high used to brag about how they made one of the student teachers cry "almost every day". Those same kids also frequently made racist remarks about one of the home ec. teachers. They were reported, but to my knowledge received no punishment.

9:19AM PDT on May 3, 2013

I knew quite a few teachers who were victimized by a handful of students. Student who needed serious discipline but only ever got a slap on the wrist. bullies in the worst way really

3:02PM PST on Jan 25, 2013

It doesn't matter how good you are at classroom management, if there are more challenging students than one adult can handle, teachers get hurt. My friend spent many years teaching a treatment centre for aggressive teens, and is well aware of how to prevent and diffuse classroom violence, but she's been kicked, bit or punched by very aggressive/ special needs primary school kids. Blaming teachers and teacher training won't solve the problem. Smaller class sizes when kids with greater special needs are included, as well as other support people such as child and youth workers or counsellors would help. No one should have to undertake unsafe work.

7:16PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Thanks

1:28PM PST on Jan 18, 2013

Amanda M.,

It is not just the weapons and the training for using them you have, it is FOR SURE how you work with the environments. ALMOST EVERY SINGLE TRUE POLICE PERSON BEFORE THE 1978 (before 1800s- include military people) would tell you that; with the militarization of us and the world, it would a lot harder and more dangerous.
So, your mother was probably right; hey, my mom is a chair person at a public High School.
Off topic; it is nice for your mother am to afford to retire, let alone survive to get there.

“When I was in college, I considered law enforcement as a career. My mom flipped out about this, arguing that it was "too dangerous" and that she would worry about me getting shot or something.

Considering that she was a teacher at an inner-city high school in south-central Prince George's County (right outside of Southeast DC, the most crime-ridden section), I found her arguments to be highly ironic. At least I'd be allowed to carry everything from pepper spray to a gun and be trained to defend myself!

And yes, she retired over ten years ago.”

7:42AM PST on Jan 18, 2013

When I was in college, I considered law enforcement as a career. My mom flipped out about this, arguing that it was "too dangerous" and that she would worry about me getting shot or something.

Considering that she was a teacher at an inner-city high school in south-central Prince George's County (right outside of Southeast DC, the most crime-ridden section), I found her arguments to be highly ironic. At least I'd be allowed to carry everything from pepper spray to a gun and be trained to defend myself!

And yes, she retired over ten years ago.

5:54AM PST on Jan 18, 2013

Thank you Kristina, for Sharing this!

5:11AM PST on Jan 17, 2013

Interesting article. Just proves what different types of bullying are there against kids, teachers, sexual genders, animals, racial and let's not forget the elderly.

5:32PM PST on Jan 16, 2013

TODAY....SCHOOLS AND THOSE GOOD TEACHERS AND LEADERS IN SCHOOLS ARE ENDANGERED. FIRST, FAMILIES ARE FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO TRUST TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS BECAUSE OF THE LIBERALS. SECONDLY, SCHOOLS ARE FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH LIBERAL PARENTS AND THEIR KIDS.

IN THE MIDDLE ARE THOSE THAT WANT TO LEARN AND GO TO SCHOOL IN PEACE.

SCHOOLS NEED TO BECOME BETTER PLACES LIKE THEY WERE IN MY SMALL TOWN....SCHOOL WAS FUN AFTER I GOT OVER BEING AFRAID OF SCHOOL BECAUSE OF MY KINDERGARTEN TRAUMA IN THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL.....PUBLIC SCHOOL FIRST YEAR WAS A STEPPING STONE TO MY GETTING A BETTER EDUCATION THAN SOME SAY ALTHO MY FAMILY IT SEEMS LOOKING AT OUR ANCESTRY SEEMED TO BE MORE FARMERS, AND I THINK MY FAMILY SEEMED TO BE SHY OF GETTING A GOOD EDUCATION. SEEMS TO ME I FOUND OUT TOOOOO LATE OR I WOULD BE SHOVING MY DEGREES ALSO.

6:55PM PST on Jan 15, 2013

I can't stand bullies!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.