How many teachers have been assaulted by students or parents? We asked educators

More than 4 in 10 educators said at least one teacher in their district had been physically assaulted or attacked by a student in the past year, according to a new survey from the EdWeek Research Center.

Additionally, 10% of educators said they had been personally physically attacked or attacked by a student, according to the survey of 1,042 district leaders, principals and teachers between July 27 and August 8.

Managers were the most likely to say they had been attacked, with 20% reporting such incidents. Eight percent of teachers said they had been assaulted, and 5 percent of district leaders said they had had similar experiences.

The findings echo findings from a recent survey conducted by other organizations, such as the American Psychological Associationas well as anecdotal reports this indicated an increase in student behavior problems.

Some educators suggest that the increase in student misconduct may be associated with challenges with returning to in-person learning after long periods of distance or hybrid instruction. Many educators who responded to the survey lamented that there are students who do not know how to interact with other people in the classroom.

“We had the worst year in terms of student and parent behavior and outbursts that we have ever had. [had]said a Michigan middle school principal who responded to the survey. “It was a year of emotional outbursts that we weren’t prepared for.”

An Indiana district manager agreed, “Student and parent behavior was worse than I’ve seen in over 40 years of teaching in a public school.”

Some educators have also noted that managing student behavior is difficult because students often do not face appropriate consequences after physically attacking or threatening a staff member. A Minnesota district manager went so far as to say that’s why “we’re losing a lot of teachers.”

Other educators also mentioned having had to deal with disrespectful behavior or threats from parents. But most educators (82%) said no one in their district had been physically assaulted or attacked by a parent or guardian in the past year, the survey found.

Norma A. Roth