Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on workplace violence faced by teachers. Statistics reveal that violence against teachers is an all too common occurrence. The National Center for Education Statistics report that 1.3 million nonfatal crimes were committed against U.S. teachers from 1997 to 2001. The U.S. Department of Education reported that from 2011 to 2012, approximately nine percent of teachers were physically threatened, and five percent were physically attacked in schools. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), a national survey shows that 80 percent of teachers reported being victimized at least once within the current or past school year.

Violence Against Teachers is Both Prevalent and Underreported

A recent study led by researchers at Ohio State University shows that workplace violence against educators remains an issue requiring the attention of researchers, school administrators, community leaders, and policymakers. Researchers surveyed 3,403 teachers of students in kindergarten through grade 12, where 2,505 of them said they were a victim of some form of violence. Of those victims, 25 percent said they were physically abused or assaulted, 20 percent said they were threatened with physical violence, and 37 percent said they were subject to verbal insults, disrespectful language, or inappropriate sexual advances.

However, of those 2,505 victims, 20 percent did not report the workplace violence to an administrator, 14 percent did not tell a co-worker, and almost 24 percent did not tell their families. According to the study, teachers were more likely to talk to co-workers than administrators and eight percent said they received a lack of support when they reported student violence. Results of the study indicate that teachers often feel characterological and behavioral self-blame, which prevents them from reporting incidents.

Implications of the Study and Recommendations for Improvement

According to the APA, teacher victimization harms the teacher and the society they work in. Violent incidents result in lost wages, absence from work, teachers leaving the profession, which requires the hiring and training of new teachers, medical and psychological treatment, student disciplinary procedures, incarceration of perpetrators, and increased Workers’ Compensation claims and premiums. These costs related to teacher victimization exceed two billion dollars a year.

The study’s lead author says that although it seems like the first thing a teacher would do after such an encounter would be to report it, many are not telling anyone what happened to them, which is a disturbing revelation. To combat this hesitancy to report, he recommends that schools increase their support for teachers who are victims of workplace violence by offering more effective policies, services, support, and interventions. The APA agrees, suggesting that classroom-based schoolwide violence prevention programs be implemented to teach people how to recognize, mitigate, and prevent school violence.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Teachers Injured On-The-Job

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening or disruptive behavior that occurs in the workplace. If you were subject to workplace violence and have been injured as a result, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Contact the skilled Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for a free consultation. To discuss your case, call us at 803-929-3600 or contact us online.

We represent clients from Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.