Study: 40% of school principals threatened by their parents last year

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — School administrators have seen an influx of violent threats from parents during the pandemic, according to a technical report recently released by the American Psychological Association.

“This is a new issue,” wrote one staff member when interviewed. “Before, it was the children. Now, it’s the adults.

The assault came mostly from parents who didn’t want their students to wear a mask at school, had politicized the pandemic, or by parents who blamed schools for learning loss, according to the report Violence Against Educators and the school staff: Crisis during COVID.

The survey was completed by approximately 15,000 employees in the 2020-21 academic year. It revealed that a third of teachers said they had been threatened by students during COVID-19.

Administrators were the most likely to respond that they had been threatened with violence by their parents, with 40% saying they had experienced it during this school year. About 29% of teachers said a parent had threatened them with violence.

Middle school teachers were the most likely to respond that they had received violent threats from students and parents.

Teachers reported being blocked online by parents when they tried to contact their students for help.

“Parents have been tougher than students this year,” wrote one educator. “Our school system has been frequently attacked.”

Another said he had been cyberbullied for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Others have experienced parental outrage over the shift to online and blended learning.

“I have been called ungrateful, lazy, whiny, entitled, indifferent, callous, selfish, stupid, etc,” a teacher replied in the report.

Physical aggression was more likely to come from students. Of the school’s employees, all said they had “significant concerns” about their safety in the pandemic, including their health from COVID-19. They also raised concerns about neighborhood safety, poverty and children living in unstable homes.

“Participants cited the need for additional training and services for staff and students, including mental health, trauma-informed care, and cultural awareness,” the report said.

The number of employees who reported experiencing physical abuse at school ranged from 14% to 22%, with social workers most likely to report being assaulted and teachers least likely.

“Even in remote or hybrid learning conditions, teachers and school staff reported experiencing significant physical violence (e.g., objects thrown at participants, ordinary objects weaponized, and physical attacks), mainly from students,” the report said.

The violence decreased during online learning, but then picked up again when the school returned to in-person classes.

Some social workers said they suffered from PTSD after being attacked on a daily basis, with one writing: “In September it occurred to me that one of the reasons why I was feeling stress reduction was that I hadn’t been physically hurt by a child in months. ”

Another said: “Sometimes leaving school worries me because there are parents who think we have ‘taken their children’ from them or called the DCF. They can act recklessly.

A teacher said they had been attacked by pupils on several occasions and “they know that not only is there no one to stop them, but there will also be no consequences. I ended up in the hospital the last time it happened.

Employees said students who refused to wear a mask faced no punishment.

Educators urged districts to streamline the process of identifying students for special educational or behavioral supports, saying it takes an average of eight months for a “violent disruptive student” to get additional help. Teachers also said they wanted de-escalation training.

“I’m afraid of being shot and attacked all the time during in-person learning,” one staff member wrote. “I feel like I’m going to die on the job at the hands of a student.” They added that “the grocery store has better security than our public schools.”

The survey found that 43% of teachers wanted to quit and 22% wanted to transfer in the 2020-21 academic year. Directors had 27% desire to resign and 13% desire to transfer.

These rates were higher in the North East and South, where 38% of school workers said they wanted to quit.

LGBTQ employees also had higher rates, with 45% of bisexual respondents and 41% of gay and lesbian respondents saying they wanted to quit, compared to 36% of heterosexual employees.

South Carolina has seen an increase in the number of teachers leaving the profession this academic year, according to a November 2021 supply and demand report of the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement.

About 6,900 South Carolina teachers in the 2020-21 school year did not return to a teaching or service position in the same district for that year — a 15.5% increase from the previous year. ‘last year. Of these, 34% said they left for external reasons, listed as “personal” or “family”, 18.5% retired, and 27% did not state a reason, or their district did not. has not collected or reported reason. More than a third of the teachers who left had less than five years of classroom experience.

There were also 50% more vacancies in education and services compared to the previous year – the highest amount since the survey was first administered in 2001.

Norma A. Roth