A Silent National Crisis: Violence Against Teachers

American Psychological Association

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Violence directed against K-12 teachers is a serious problem that demands the immediate attention of researchers, school administrators, community leaders and policymakers. We know a lot about the phenomenon of school violence and how to recognize, mitigate and prevent it. The following information is based on the assumption that school violence may be related to teacher victimization. We frame this knowledge in the form of questions that reflect different levels of prevention and intervention.

How Big is the Problem?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, from 2011-12 (PDF, 4.14MB), approximately:

  • 20% of public school teachers reported being verbally abused.
  • 10% reported being physically threatened.
  • 5% reported being physically attacked in schools.

From 1997-2001 (PDF, 800KB) 1.3 million nonfatal crimes (including 473,000 violent crimes) were committed against America’s teachers.

What Does It Cost?

Victimization costs — both obvious and hidden — include:

  • Lost wages.
  • Lost days of work (927,000 days/per year).
  • Training and replacement of teachers leaving the school or profession prematurely.
  • Medical and psychological care.
  • Student disciplinary proceedings.
  • Increased workers’ compensation claims and premiums.
  • Incarceration of perpetrators.
Teacher Instructions
Teacher Instructions
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