Violence against teachers, schools face threats

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A survey of nearly 15,000 educators and school staff found that 49% of teachers want to transfer or leave the profession, the American Psychological Association said in a report earlier this month. 

What You Need To Know

  • Nearly half of all teachers are wanting or planning on quitting
  • A task force addressing school violence said that more than a third of teachers have been subjected to school violence
  • The Task force made a number of recommendations in hopes of addressing school violence

According to Eric Anderman, an Ohio State professor of educational studies and a member of an anti-school violence task force that produced the report, violence and threats are causing many school employees to consider leaving their job. 

“This is strong national data backing up the disturbing anecdotes and stories we’ve been hearing from teachers. There’s a crisis in the teaching profession,” Anderman said. 

The survey included 9,370 teachers, 860 administrators, 1,499 school psychologists and social workers, and 3,237 other school staff members. The APA conducted the survey from June 2021 to June 2021.

While nearly half of all teachers were planning on or wishing to leave their job, nearly one third of other school employees had the same desire. 

The survey found that one in three teachers were subjected to verbal harassment or threatening behavior by a student. 

“Violence against educators is a silent epidemic in some ways, because many victims don’t want to talk about it with their families or even colleagues and administrators,” Anderman said.

The APA Task Force on Violence Against Educators and School Personnel made recommendations for addressing violence and threats in schools. Anderman believes teachers need professional development to deal with violence in schools. 

“We have to find a way to better support teachers and other school personnel,” Anderman said. “We can’t afford to lose nearly half of our teachers.”

Reacting to the survey, the National Education Association echoed Anderman’s call for resources for teachers. 

“While the sources and motivations behind violence in schools vary greatly, the solutions are clear as day—more staff, more training, and more attention to mental health needs,” NEA President Becky Pringle said. “And yet, schools are not given the funding needed to hire, train, and retain necessary staff at their schools like counselors and social workers.”

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