Police involvement when students assault teachers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Apr 29, 2017.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I saw a story online the other day about a kid physically assaulting an aide, which led to the aide suffering a heart attack (not fatal). There was another story in the news not too long ago about a 10-year-old who was arrested at school for physically assaulting an aide.

    Do you think that police should get involved when a student assaults a teacher? Does it matter if the student has documented special needs? Does the age of the student matter? Does the severity of the assault matter?

    I'd like to hear your thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I taught a very violent, uncontrollable special needs child once who assaulted everyone who worked with the child. The child was 8 years old at the time. One assistant had finally had enough and called the police. She was encouraged by the police to file charges, even though nothing would be done with the child at that time. The police told her that they needed documentation along the way so when the child got older they would be able to assess consequences.
     
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  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    In Palm Beach County last year, police were videoed and shown throwing a defiant special needs student to the ground after she was non-compliant. It resulted in a closer look at policies governing when behavioral matters were to be considered serious enough for law enforcement to be involved. The trend had been for increased reliance on police (who were often not at all competent to deal with the special needs population) for behavioral problems. That was supposed to be reconsidered. Recently, though, we saw an autistic boy being arrested.
     
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  5. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I feel it's a last resort but ones that staff feel they have no other recourse to. It takes so much documentation and time to move violent students to alternative placements and in the meantime, staff must deal with the students every day, all day, often without a lot of administrative support. What can they do? Quit, take the abuse, or call the police?
     
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  6. msleep

    msleep Rookie

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    I will say that if I am assaulted, I will be calling the police. Special needs is no excuse. If you want to use it as an excuse, then they need to be removed from the general population because they are a danger.
     
  7. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Yes, I think police can be involved.(I don't like the automatic "should"). They'd likely be if it happened off school grounds.

    No, documented special needs shouldn't matter. No one is less hurt because a kid had an IEP. This isn't a manifestation hearing, it's a crime being dealt with. I also have heard that it's breaking the law to not hold special needs kids to the school rules and school safety.

    Age doesn't matter.

    Severity? I don't know. I do think you would not be calling police over a moderate tantrum, but how do I know a kid isn't testing the limits?

    I can understand people wanting to be sensitive to special needs, but there is no law requiring staff and students to suffer violence and abuse.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
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  8. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Several years ago, I was assaulted by the same student multiple times, but because the student was a few months younger than the allowed age to involve police, absolutely nothing was done. The child not only assaulted me, but their classmates on a regular basis. I was told the child was "too severe for an ALE placement" so the child was kept in my room, without any other assistance for me, until a spot opened at a mental health facility for day treatment (which happened the second half of fourth quarter).

    Something should have been done differently. The safety of myself and the other children in the room were of no concern to my administration or anybody at central office.
     
  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I absolutely do. Accepting assault is not in the job description of a teacher! I would 100% go to the police if it happened to me. If the student had special needs that lead to the assault, then I'm assuming the police would take that into consideration. But if a student had special needs that lead to him or her assault someone, I would expect that all teachers that work with the student have the option to refuse to teach that student. It's not fair for teachers who are pregnant, etc.
     
  10. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Do you think that police should get involved when a student assaults a teacher? Yes the police should be involved when a student assaults a teacher. I think the best way to answer this question is to consider thinking about it this way: if this student assaulted a member of the general public would the police be called or involved? If they would, WHY SHOULD it be different if it were a teacher they assaulted?

    Does it matter if the student has documented special needs? No! I think we do Sped students and their families a disservice if we allow students to get away with aggressive or violent behaviors while (for lack of a better term) hiding behind the label Special Needs. On the one hand we have parents and kids with identified special needs who are asking to be treated just like everyone else (which is their right and they should be) but on the other hand we have parents and kids with special needs on a convenience basis. Disabilities dont work like light switches. You dont get to turn them on and off whenever it fits your need. "Johnny was really upset and his autism caused him to hit you 5times in the face" I call shenanigans on that! Behavior is a form or communication and it is something you learn. Violent behaviors are a HUGE reason for why Early Intervention in a Sped Students life is key! If it is a teachers job to prepare students for the "real world" then it is imperative that we teaching coping skills and alternative behaviors to put in place of these aggressive behaviors. If we dont, we will have sped students acting out aggressively towards the wrong person in public which could eventually lead to their death or physical harm. There is always someone stronger than you out there! For the sped kid with aggressive behavior I hope we teach coping skills before they meet that person.

    I am a 6'2 200 lbs female. When I was working as an instructional assistant for severely handicapped high school kids, I was assaulted numerous times. One day, I had a girl with O.D.D. start punching me repeatedly. I tried to deescalate this girl. I tried using the district approved Crisis Prevention and Intervention techniques to no avail. I moved away and attempted to leave her proximity. This girl followed me down the stairs and out the door (while still punching me) to where another adult could intervene. Do I think she should go to jail? Not Necessarily. Did she physically harm me? Yes. Did she do it again? Yes. Do I, and did I wish that something could have been done to keep it from happening again? HELL YES. I'll close with this final thought:

    If we are not going to do something to protect staff and other students from kids with violent and aggressive behaviors; than we had better be prepared to treat the PTSD that comes as a result for the systems inability to keep people safe. I still feel anxiety when I think about this student. I still duck sometimes when I am startled by someone in close proximity. These assaults were over 7 years ago but they are still real and still affect me today.
     
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  11. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    My personal opinion is that all students, teachers and staff, have the right to be safe and feel safe in their school/work environment. So if the environment becomes unsafe and there is a serious threat that could eventuate or an assault, the police should be involved. We are educators, but the safety of the students and of us underpins everything we do.
     
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  12. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I don't think it should be the automatic response, but if the situation is severe enough, then yes, police involvement may be necessary.

    I have known people in positions where they have regularly been stabbed with scissors, hit, bit, kicked, or otherwise physically harmed by students with special needs. Too often, this is considered a manifestation of disability and the staff members are told it's part of the job. That should not be a part of anyone's job. If a student is violent, even if they are autistic, there needs to be some kind of way of addressing that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  13. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I believe it is illegal to make that "part of the job." Teachers always have the right to seek redress against student attacks, even special needs.
     
  14. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    When I worked in a not-so-peaceful neighborhood, I made it clear that my first call would be to the law and the second call would be the office.
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I saw that video and read the vast majority of comments about how the teachers shouldn't be teaching if they call the cops on a special needs students, and I remembered some of the comments on this forum as well. I thankfully have never been in that situation, but I definitely back up the rights of teachers to call law enforcement if they are being abused by a student.

    I think administrators need to take the rights of teachers and students to teach and learn in a safe learning environment more seriously and have plans set in place for if a student needs to be removed from the classroom. I think a lot of admin attempt to make teachers feel ashamed for asking students to be removed from the classroom when they are making learning impossible for others usually because they don't want them in the office. (to be fair, there is probably a lot of pressure on site admin from above to keep the students in the classroom as well to keep the suspension numbers down)

    I wish more schools had dedicated On-Site Suspension rooms and work areas, where students could be sent if the whole class environment isn't working out for them. The few times I've seen this implemented, it works very well for everyone involved. The student has a place to calm down, even focus on work without the distraction of others, the classroom is able to regain its order, and the teacher can teach.
     
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  16. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I 100% agree.

    The needs of the whole class need to be considered when deciding what to do about one student's behavior.
     
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  17. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    The reality is that the schools rarely provide what the student needs so teachers are now having to resort to the justice system. Many times when services are provided it is by minimally trained staff or aides.
     
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  18. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    The school-to-prison pipeline is a terrible problem that is destroying lives, especially the lives of black kids. If schools cannot provide safe environments for teachers and other students before having to resort to the criminal system, then schools need to completely rethink everything they are doing & provide better resources.
    Certainly in some cases, weapons and bodily harm, it's necessary to call for help, but that is not what is happening in schools. Police are in schools as resource officers and they are arresting, primarily black students, for many things not even related to assaulting anyone.
    The little autistic girl someone mentioned earlier had her head buried in the ground, as an adult male police officer was sitting on her with his knee pinned into her back. There is absolutely no justification for that; that wasn't just an arrest, he could have killed that girl. He assaulted her...as did the cop that broke the girl's arm when she wouldn't get out of her desk.
     
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  19. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    Am I wrong thinking it depends on the age of the student? If a five year old hits a teacher I'm not so sure that warrants an arrest, but a 14 year old probably does. I'm also not sure I agree with arresting special needs students. I'm not saying that they should be allowed to "get away with" anything but I believe there should an alternative to arresting them. I don't necessarily agree with inclusion anyway and I certainly don't think violent students should be in the general population/even on a normal campus. There are psycho-ed facilities(is this still the accepted term for this?) for a reason.

    I teach high school, if a kid hit me I wouldn't even hesitate to call the police. If it was a special education student (I'm talking severe) I might think twice depending on how physically harmed I was but I would expect that student removed from the school in some capacity and if that didn't happen then I would get the police involved because if its not safe for me its not safe for the other students either. .
     
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  20. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Our state association supports teachers in reporting assaults by students.
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    That doesn't surprise me. The job of the association is to protect the interest of the teacher and not necessarily all involved.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I teach in one of the largest school districts in the nation. We don't have these types of facilities to my knowledge. I've never even heard that term before.
     
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  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I want to say I've stumbled across the term. Don't know how common they are. My last district had a couple of "behavior units" scattered about for geographical ease, and they pretty much just seemed to be a non-inclusive classroom for those with severe emotional/behavioral issues, but nothing terrible distinct from any other classroom.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    We do have a couple of "behavior schools" where kids go after they've been expelled from their neighborhood schools. Usually placement in a behavior school is temporary and the kid ends up back at the original school within a few months.
     
  25. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I want to say ours weren't so much expulsion as referral and need based. Not expelled, just couldn't be in a normal classroom despite accommodations.
     
  26. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That makes sense, and it may be similar to what our district does now that I think about it.

    I assume the teachers at those schools receive additional training. I wonder how much and in what form.
     
  27. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I agree with that. It's better than "don't report assault."
     
  28. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    A buddy taught in one. It was quite intense, an assortment of special classes.
     
  29. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I understand the school to prison pipeline, but if a child assaulted me, I would not hesitate to call the police. For issues such as attendance, drugs, etc. I believe that schools and teachers must find a solution to allow kids to stay in school.

    I am going to student teach at low-income school with a majority of students of color. If a student assaulted me (or another student!) and my admin not call the police in fear of ruining a child's life, I would throw a fit. Teachers need to be able to go to their jobs like anyone else-- knowing that if someone assaults them, the police will handle it. If teachers are expected to just "handle it", I would leave in a heartbeat.
     
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  30. MrTempest

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    I agree police need to be involved when students are engaged in criminal acts at school. Sweeping it under the rug does not teach kids life lessons that their actions have consequences. Additionally, I have taught in two districts with very different practices when involving the police. At the school were police were less likely to be involved you saw a lot more fighting and kids doing drugs at school. In an environment like that a tone is set that students can do stupid things and get away with; over and over again.
     
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  31. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yes, but there is a balance because we do not want these kids to go to jail instead of school.
     
  32. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    However, giving kids the impression criminal behavior will be tolerated pretty much guarantees the school-to-prison pipeline. These kids get mixed signals, get into the adult world, and realize that no, society will not tolerate crime.

    By all means, add preventive strategies to stop the behavior, but don't take away the consequence.
     
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  33. msleep

    msleep Rookie

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    A lot of this has to do with parents wanting their children in inclusion classes. Each student's situation is different, but this is putting a strain on the teachers. There are also more students with disabilities being labeled and it puts a financial strain on the districts.
     
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  34. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    We have school resource officers (SRO) on every campus for various reason. It really isn't a bad system. I think it is more in case someone comes on campus that shouldn't than who is supposed to be on campus. But anyway. If students were to assault a teacher, yes the SRO would be called. More than likely, I would press charges.
     
  35. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    If a small child, perhaps kindergarten age, were to attack me, I'd likely just call someone to take the child away. Or let the child know in no uncertain terms the behavior would not be tolerated. I can be convincing. It's happened. I know it will happen again. I do not feel threatened by someone just three feet tall, and don't see the need to blow such a situation out of proportion. After all, we have a number of emotionally handicapped children in my school. I can be understanding enough not to make their situation worse when the threat isn't substantial, after all.

    If an older child attacked me, someone large enough to pose some threat, I would press charges, and the administration could go to hell.

    If an older child attacked me, and I felt a genuine threat to my personal safety, I would take any and all steps necessary to defend myself.

    I will not allow anyone to hurt me. Will. Not. Happen.
     
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  36. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    I have yet to reveal this on here, but I have 100% first-hand experience with this. A couple of months ago I was working in the "worst of the worst", (I work at a Continuation/DAEP School) and was in the "ISO" (isolation room), it's like the ISS for the disciplinary school. Anyway, this kid was outside the door disrupting class and I asked him to stop. He pinned me, between door and frame- bruised my knee and ribs. He now has Aggravated assault against a public servant charges pending. I go to court soon...

    So YES, I filed charges against the little felon. He needs to learn, and would be doing him a disservice to just let it go. I was physically assaulted and injured.

    Admin is AMAZING and in fact has been with me through the whole process. The principal even went so far as getting me all the info I need (name, address, etc) for the report. They paid me for days off, and will pay me on my court day. I'm very blessed to be with this group of admin & supportive teachers.

    Yes, involve the police especially with older ones. If it's intentional and deliberate, this kid was 14 and had prior issues and probation officer. He needs to go away for a long, long time. But he won't.

    Teachers should be able to feel safe in work, and I didn't feel safe for awhile after that.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  37. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    The association does not just work for the teachers; a violent student is a danger to everyone, including other students.
     
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  38. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I think it depends on the area. We have more parents begging for betyer services than we do those begging for inclusion. The disability and services also hss a lot to do with what a parent asks for. If yhe pull out services are no better than glorified baby sitting for certain disabilities the parents beg for inclusion.
     
  39. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    There's a case in my neck of the woods involving attempted murder by teenagers. Currently the court is deciding whether to keep them in juvenile or push them to adult court.

    What's interesting and applicable here is that one of the arguments being made for one of the boys is that his ADHD affected his ability to judge the situation and make the right choice (this was planned and premeditated murder attempt, but hey). Therefore staying in the juvenile system would be best for him.

    I do realize there is an awful lot of ADHD or autistic people in prison.

    No real conclusion I'm making here, just sharing some musings.
     
  40. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This happened today at the school where my parents taught and from where I graduated. Five teachers were injured and three were taken to the hospital, including the one who was taken out of the school unconscious. I'm angry and upset, but I have a feeling the administration will have no choice but to follow through with charges since the video is on YouTube.
     
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  41. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    The one fight does not bother me as much as the fact that it happens all the time. This is indicative of inept administration. Someone needs to clean house and go in with the big guns to get this district under control.

    When these kids get cuffed and stuffed, and mommy has to pay all manner of fines and restitution, then they'll start to catch on. I've seen this behavior flourish under weak administration, and fade under strong administration. It can be handled.
     
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