Bullied Teachers: 145,100 Public-School Teachers Physically Attacked by Students; 276,700 Threatened With Injury

March 10, 2011 - 5:29 PM

School violence

A group of Philadelphia high school students express concern about school violence. (Associated Press photo/Matt Rourke)

(CNSNews.com) - Noting that more than a third of American middle school and high school students have “reported being bullied during the school year,” President Barack Obama joined First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House conference today to discuss prevention of bullying in the nation’s schools.

What was not discussed at the White House conference was the massive number of American public-school teachers who, according to the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, have reported being physically attacked or threatened with injury by their students.

In November, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics quietly released a report—“Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2010”—indicating that 145,100 public school teachers had been physically attacked by students at their schools in the course of a single school year and that another 276,700 public school teachers had been threatened with injury by a student in that school year.

The numbers were drawn from the DOE’s most recent “School and Staffing Survey” conducted after the 2007-2008 school year. The survey sample included 47,600 public school teachers, and the DOE’s National Center for Education Statistics used the responses of this sample to calculate the total number of teaches threatened and attacked nationwide.

Question 59b on the survey asked: “Has a student FROM THIS SCHOOL threatened to injure you IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS?” Question 60b asked: “Has a student FROM THIS SCHOOL physically attacked you IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS?”

Table 5.1 in the report said 8.1 percent of all public school teachers in America had been threatened with injury by a student during the 2007-2008 school year, and Table 5.2 said that 4.3 percent had been actually physically attacked by a student.

The results showed that teachers at private school—where 2.6 percent were threatened by a student and 1.9 percent were attacked—were less likely to be victimized by their students than were public school teachers.

The report indicated that no type of public school was immune from student threats and attacks on teachers. Public-school students threatened to injure 106,200 teachers (12.1 percent of the teachers) in city schools, 83,700 teachers (7.0 percent) in suburban schools, 36,300 (7.8 percent) in town school and 50,000 (5.9 percent) in rural schools.

Public school students physically attacked 50,000 teachers (5.7 percent of the teachers) in city schools, 48,900 teachers (4.1 percent) in suburban schools, 19,200 students (4.1 percent) in town schools, and 27,000 teachers (3.2 percent) in rural schools.

Female teachers were more likely than male teachers to be physically attacked by a student. 119,500 female teachers (or 4.1 percent the teachers) were physically attacked by a student during the school year, while 34,900 male teachers (or 3.7 percent) were physically attacked by a student.

The DOE report did not disaggregate public-school teachers from private-school teachers when reporting the total of each gender who were attacked. (In addition to the 145,100 public-school teachers who were physically attacked by a student during the school year, another 9,300 private-school teachers were also attacked by a student.)

Public-school teachers were more likely to be attacked in Maryland—where 8.4 percent were attacked—than in any other state. Alaska—where 6.7 percent of teachers were attacked--ranked second. Wisconsin and Minnesota tied for third with a teacher-attacked-by-student rate of 6.6 percent.