Violence Against Teachers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TeacherEast, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. TeacherEast

    TeacherEast New Member

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    Jul 22, 2007

    Not long ago I read an article about self-defense classes for teachers in Colorado. You can find the article by Googling:

    Self-Defense class for teachers, Boulder Daily Camera

    I also noticed a new book on Amazon called
    "Self-Defense for Teachers: An Unfortunate Necessity for Modern Educators".

    Do you think this type of stuff is necessary. I was just wondering if any of you have ever feel unsafe while teaching. Do you have this type of safety training in your schools?
     
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  3. michelleann27

    michelleann27 Cohort

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    No, I teach the 8th grade I have 155 students and I never once felt scared. We do have campus police so I think that helps...
     
  4. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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    I must admit last year when I was teaching 5th grade I had one student who would snap at a moments notice which made me very nervous. He started by throwing paper followed by a pencil, next was a pair of scissors and the last item he threw was a chair. He also on many occasions would get up in my face and scream at me. I never knew if he would touch me and it was a concern that not only I had but his mother too had.

    Thankfully we did make it through the year without me ever getting hurt or any of my other students (however, he once threw a chair at another student too!).

    My team was amazed at how I could keep my cool when he snapped however, they also witnessed me breakdown one day afterwards too. Thankfully it wasn't in front of my other students.

    So my opinion - yes, teachers should know how to safely protect themselves and their students if needed.
     
  5. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Most of the time I get grief from co-workers! Seems to be the story of my life. Either harassed by co-workers, or stalked by ex. I think the theory behind bullying has very deep roots, and the powers that be have continued to turn their backs, and ignore this behavior. Only recently have you seen new company rules about harassment and EAP programs designed to help co-workers.

    But I don't see this at the schools. I have literally seen teacher aides from h*ll just terriorize a class, and the teacher can't do anything. Sometimes they are in a union. Most of the time, they are friends, family members of director. Usually, it is the same old story..."she is a good teacher, I don't want to lose her, staff is hard to comeby, sure she has a little attitude."

    If I went to the supervisor and told them half of the stuff that has happened to me, they usually laugh, or say don't worry, I'll do something.

    never happens.

    I think self-defense for teachers is good if you are in special ed, and you need to defend yourself against a child who is twice your size. These children don't know their limits. You certainly can't strike back, but you can grab, hold and block punches. Insurance is good, vision is better.

    Little kids are just as dangerous. The teachers have programmed them to behave by yelling at them. I can't do this. it is tiring, and just not my style. So I have lots of little gang bangers jumping up at me, and threatening me. People think it's cute. They laugh because they are 4. I don't care. I don't appreciate being insulted or having blocks hurled at me, whatever age you are.

    I am trying to get away from the combat zone of teaching. It seems that most pre-k positions are in low-income areas. This frustrates me, because the parents and teachers have low skills and very violent behaviors. I feel I am at a lost. Take a cut in pay,or deal with the animosty on the job, because in my position, I will always have higher salary, since I always have higher education. I am hired to clean up shop, and nobody wants to change. :( The directors know this, and personally I am getting sick of it!

    sorry to rant, but this has been a thorn in my side for years!!!
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think it is important for teachers to be able to recognize escalating behaviors and know when to get out of the way. I knew a teacher (not in my district, somewhere else) who got punched in the face by a student. It sounds horrible at first, but a little less horrible once you find out that the teacher was right in a student's face when the student was becoming very upset. If she had just backed off and given the kid some space when he had asked, I'm betting she probably wouldn't have gotten hit.

    I have never felt unsafe at school, but we have had a number of incidents involving weapons on campus. It's a good idea to remain vigilant, I suppose.
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    This is one of the reasons I don't want to work in the public school system.
     
  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Almost every public school I know of in this area has metal detectors, or security guards at door, or both! Not just high school, elementary schools too!

    I worked for Head Start, in the middle of a housing project. A gang fight broke out, and the secretary's daughter ran inside our school. They were after her! The whole building was on lock down. I looked out the window, and the thugs were using my car to hide and throw rocks!

    In most cases, Head Start aides and teachers were former parents. They have little or no education, and most live in the same community. I know the reasoning behind this program. I just don't feel safe about it. Sigh!
     
  9. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Jul 22, 2007

    Master Pre-K noted that special education teachers may benefit from training. I definitely agree--how to restrain students is important. However, these restraining techniques can also be used when a fight breaks out. I know teachers in most districts are not to become involved, but I know teachers who have witnessed kids being beaten, and so felt compelled to jump in to protect students. In this case, trained restraining techniques are useful as well.

    As far as self-defense: it couldn't hurt (*sigh," no pun intended, but now that I think about, go ahead, haha).
     
  10. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Yes, and usually when you try to break up fights, the parents can't sue you when you tried to block their punch, and they claim you hurt their darling angel. I broke up one fight with 5th graders. Got punched, never did it again. If they don't listen to me, I walk away, and get help.

    I took taekwondo before, and I especially attended the kid's classes. Two reasons... Saturday was always crowed, and the white belts in adult classes are considered scum buckets. Teacher doesn't even look our way! Being in the kid class, I have right-sized partners to work with. A few paranoid parents gave me the once over. I smiled and said I am a teacher, and they immediately looked relieved! Most kids were respectful, true to their art, and I had to follow them, because we line up by rank first, age second!

    One kid tried to take my head off when we were sparring. I didn't take it personally, but if I didn't just get my hair done, I would have earned a new belt that night!

    I only got out of the program because of the pressure to attend sparring matches, and the fact the billing system changed to automatic account withdrawal! They were tired of kids dropping out, but I had prior horror stories of double payments with plans like that! Also, I never wanted to break boards, or people for that matter.

    On my list of things to do...find another class someday. It is good exercise, and a valuable skill.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 23, 2007


    I totally agree that special education teachers and professionals should be trained in self-defense and avoidance techniques, something like MAB--the non-violent management of aggressive behavior.

    As for physically restraining fighting students... just make sure that you're aware of your district policy about this. In many instances, teachers become personally liable the moment they touch a student, even if it is to prevent violence against another student. For that reason, some districts have a policy stating that teachers are not allowed to physically restrain kids unless they have received specific district training.

    I know that in my district we are technically allowed to break up fights, but I don't think we can physically restrain anyone. In any event, we're encouraged not to jump into fights under any circumstances. Instead, we are supposed to call for hall monitors and the school police, who will show up in about 30 seconds.

    I personally don't feel like I would ever jump in and break up a fight unless it was to block a completely defenseless kid from getting pounded. (I have a little extra "fluff" and can take a few punches. :p ) I mostly think that I just don't get paid enough money to risk my own life and limb to become involved in what is likely a gang fight where there are probably (read: always) weapons involved.
     
  12. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jul 23, 2007


    two words for ya Cassie....Metal Detector...
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I know! Our school is probably the most violent in the whole district (and we are in a HUGE district). Our admins have been fighting for years to get metal detectors, but the district says they're too expensive to install and staff. Our principal has been on the news a number of times (after each occurrence of violence at our school) and stated his case for metal detectors through the media. Parents, admins, teachers, and students are all together on this issue!

    It's funny, though, because the district headquarters are a virtual fortress in terms of security. Police, security staff, metal detectors, you name it--they have it all.

    Even if we did end up getting metal detectors, I'd worry that students would continue to find ways to bring weapons to school. I mostly think they'd turn to shanking. You can make shanks out of anything, so obviously they wouldn't be detected if they weren't made of metal.

    (Has anyone watched Oz? I watched all the seasons and I loved the show, but it REALLY reminds me of my school.....)
     
  14. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I would like to know if anyone else has dealt with combative co-workers. I am starting to realize this is part of job, as long as I continue to be in low-income areas. As I mentioned, (I think) as long as I am hired to be over people with less education, they feel threatened. And most of the time, these folks are just one step away from being gansters themselves!

    Why can't I find a decent job with preschoolers in a decent area? It really seems unfair to me, and I have considered leaving the profession several times.

    I think violence needs to end all around! Most people still don't understand domestic violence. If a teacher is out, everyone is just mad because somebody has to cover their class. Nobody cares that that her husband may be abusing her. If it wasn't for EAP programs, many teachers would be out of a job. directors are so nosy, demanding why you are out!

    Add this to the fact that preschoolers have erratic behaviors and are very emotional...and their parents are worse! I get so upset when kids are fighting, biting, and kicking one another for no apparent reason. Then, the offender runs to hide under a table, and cries her eyeballs out! That's when the director comes in, and yells at me for not comforting this child! I am sooo upset about this! Nobody sees what is going on. They don't care! The poor victim stands there crying, while all the attention goes to his assailant!

    And then I have to deal with teacher aides and parents who threaten me because they don't want to do what they need to do?

    I know it is too early for this, but I needed to vent.

    Right now, I would be happier stacking bottles of hairspray on a shelf in a drugstore!

    So why do these job applications always ask, "Do you like to work alone?", Do you start trouble? Do you get into fights when you are upset? They hire these people anyway!!!
     
  15. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    Since our school shooting, I've found myself more interested in taking some type of self-defense so if someone comes into my classroom, I won't feel so helpless. I would like to know about how to protect my students and be able to assess a situation and what might be best. Don't get me wrong- I am not out to battle the bad guys- I just want to know that I could do something if need be.
     
  16. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    [/QUOTE=Master Pre-K]
    Then, the offender runs to hide under a table, and cries her eyeballs out! That's when the director comes in, and yells at me for not comforting this child.
    [/QUOTE]

    My first thought is the director should not come in to yell at you- very unprofessional. If anything, the director should ask what they can do to help the situation- even by seeing if they could help to remove the child from the room to "cool off".
     
  17. CoachRyan

    CoachRyan Rookie

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    noone yells at me and gets away with it. Kid, parent, co-worker (teacher) or even administrator. I will cut the off mid sentance and let them know that my MOTHER doesn't even yell at me like that anymore, so none of the others I listed will if my own mother won't. Be assertive.

    I've had a few try. Students always try, they are simply sent to the office. I don't care if leaving class is their goal or not (SPED kids especially like to try this), I won't sit by and just let an unruley kid take over the class simply because I don't want to give him what he wants. I have 25 others in there wanting an education.

    Parents are the 2nd biggest culprit trying this. For whatever reason, there's always one parent who targets a teacher. I've been that target 3 or 4 seperate times. When a parent yells at me, or points an accusing finger at me and raises their voice, I simply get up, and walk out in mid-yell. I tell another teacher, "I won't attend another meeting with this parent unless an administrator is present" and leave.

    If a teacher does it or admin does it, I have no problem telling them I am not a student and that they better watch their tone with me.

    I've had a few teachers try but fortunately, no admin has tried yet
     
  18. CoachRyan

    CoachRyan Rookie

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    as far as physical violence. I have been kicked in the head from behind while breaking up a fight. Probably the most serious of all things since I was holding one kid down waiting for the SRO and the brother deliberately stomped me. I finished the year out, but I made up my mind to get to the position I'm at now and worked to make it happen. I also made up my mind to never break up a fight again. My job stops at "Hey, stop fighting", then I call the SRO and let the man with the gun and the badge earn his salary.
     
  19. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Yeah, but they feed into that mentality says a crying child needs to be responded to ASAP.

    The attention seekers get the attention!

    Nobody goes after serial killers who are always quiet, and stay to themselves!

    BTW...I actually stopped in a taekwondo class today! Listened to the sales pitch, and then took a seat. Class was really unstructured, and very noisy. Building was shabby too. Carpet was filthy! I wouldn't bring my dog in there! Still it was interesting to see how much I remembered.

    Came home, looked up some park district programs instead. They have karate and self-defense. Much better price, smaller group, and no contracts! Thanks for giving me inspiration to return to a practical and fun activity!

    I might even consider Tai chi...used to see that a lot, and it looked interesting. Good way to relieve stress of work!
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I am lucky enough to never have been afraid at school.

    That said, shortly after the Va Tech shooting, a few of us were talking in the faculty room. Several of us mentioned that we had actually stopped and figured out what we would do (or try to do) in the event that something similar happened.
     
  21. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I was a playground aide, and saw one of those strange car pursuits! When five cops came tearing up the street, chasing a speeding car, I was certain this idiot was going to get out the car, and run up in our school. (they like to do this, because they know it will make the police back off!) I used my radio to call the office, and tell them what was going on, and they thought it was funny! :(
     
  22. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    Oh boy, Master Pre-K...what is up with your director? I shudder to think what he/she would do if there was open gunfire or something. Is there an emergency plan or anything to help keep those children safe from harm?

    Unfortunately, many people have the attitude that it won't happen to them. Believe me, it does- I've been through many things I would have never expected to experience first hand. You always have to be ready- especially in today's world.
     
  23. weisemaries

    weisemaries Rookie

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    I feel that self-defence training for all teachers is a good plan. If I do not find a new job this year, I will be signing up for a course myself. Last school year, I had my wrist sprained by a student and then that same student punch me in the face at the end of year.
     
  24. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Living in L.A., a lot of things I noticed are easily ignored. They tend to be rather lax, and take things for granted, IMO.

    Also, the Hollywood mindset doesn't help matters either.
     
  25. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Nice to meet you! Did you sue that family? I am a big advocate of equal and fair treament for all, especially teachers.

    Now, repeat after me:

    It is not if I find a new job...it is WHEN I find a new job!
     
  26. weisemaries

    weisemaries Rookie

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    Thanks for your encouragement! I have another interview tomorrow with a different school district. As for the student issue, things were taken care of. Even if I do return, he will not be allowed to be in my classroom.
     
  27. lorac

    lorac Rookie

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    My grandma who was born in 1925 changed schools YEARS ago after a first or second grader put her in the hospital. This was well before my time - and I'm 30! (I think it was either before my mom was born or while she was little - she was born in 1955)
     
  28. TeacherEast

    TeacherEast New Member

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    I think this is a great idea. I think the problem is a lot worse than people believe. Just google stories on teachers being hurt in school. There are a ton of stories. I think something should be done.
     
  29. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    Our school is right off of a major highway (I can see the cars from my window) and last year we implemented a plan for such incidents. We even got the PTC club to provide walkie talkies for each room so that we can communicate with other teachers, the fire station and the police. Now don't get me wrong....my school sits in small town America and is VERY mild and quaint....but so was the school in Pennsylvania where those little girls were killed. It is just the ugly truth of the horrible world we live in where even at school terrible things can happen. All schools-private and public-need to be prepared. It could be an angry parent with a custody issue or a stranger that runs in off the street. I feel safer knowing there is a plan in place that we have practiced and I know back-up of the best kind is not far away.
     
  30. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Unfortunetly, (sp?) I think it is def a reality teachers face. I was teaching in the inner city- actually it was at a church. I was teaching 10th grade ccd and I was in 11th grade. I had the class to myself, I had 13 students and half came from one city and the other half from another city. They were rival high school teams and they brought that into the classroom. A lot of the students were into drugs and had family problems- I was a volunteer teacher and no one would take this class. But, in the end I was threatened with my life and I seriously thought that student was going to kill me. The office was no support although I was able to get that student out of my room- the student still stalked me for the remainder of the year. It was scary and I think self defense classes are necessary regardless of where you are working.
     
  31. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I have never really been afraid of my students, but I have been scared of some of their genuinely creepy parents.
     
  32. corps2005

    corps2005 Cohort

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    My students were in 1st grade, so I was never scared of them either, even when one would throw chairs or knock down bookcases. There were a few parents I was scared of, especially one from last year. I refused to meet with her without an administrator present and refused to let her in my classroom. The office got to know her face.

    On the fight issue, honestly, I don't physically break up fights that happen in the hallway or outside because of the issue of someone accusing me of hurting a child. I refuse to do it. I am not going to lose my job or hurt my career over the untrue statements of a child. I will "verbally" try to get the children to break it up, but that is as far as it goes.
     
  33. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    and it depends on whether administration will back you up, or expects you to take some type of action.

    Usually, just blowing a whistle acknowledges the fact that your are an adult, and a staff member, and something is going on. If you do this, you really don't have to get involved, or attempt to break up the fight. Hopefully, other staff members will come, and soon the administration and/or security will come on the scene!

    If, however, kids are brawling all over the floor, and you make the mistake of walking by, thinking 'boy, those 6th graders are terrible', you, I am sure, can expect to be called into the office. Simply because they are not your kids, or your grade level, doesn't seem to exempt you from intervening. On the otherhand, I would see teachers try to stop kids fighting on the way home from school. It hurts me to see this, but I wouldn't get out of my car, and stop them! Once I am off, and they are off school property, my liability is over!

    So, in a nutshell, you are darned if you do, darned if you don't. Especially outside of schoool, because that is when most parents, and neighborhood kids jump in.

    and by the way, I am in pre-k, and I don't let their size fool me! I have seen them do some awful things!!! throwing chairs and knocking over bookcases is just the beginning!!!!
     

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