Student Attacks on Teachers Up 34.5%; Record 209,800 in 2011-12 School Year

Lauretta Brown | June 10, 2014 | 4:00pm EDT
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Philip Chism, 15, is accused of raping and murdering his Danvers, Mass. high school math teacher, 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer, last October. (AP photo)

( - A record 209,800 primary and secondary school teachers reported being physically attacked by a student during the 2011-2012 school year, according to new data released Tuesday by the federal government.

That was up 34.5 percent from the previous record of 156,000 teachers who were attacked by students in the 2007-2008 school year.

The data was published in "Indicators of School Crime and Safety," which was released yesterday by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.

The 209,800 teachers who were attacked by students in 2011-2012 outnumber the population of Salt Lake City, Utah, which is 189,384.

On average, 1,175 teachers were physically attacked each day of the school year, according to data, which is derived from the NCES' Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS).

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197,400 of the teachers who were physically attacked by a student worked in public schools. 12,400 worked in private schools.

Overall, 5.8 percent of public school teachers reported being physically attacked by a student during the year, and 2.7 percent of private school teachers reported being physically attacked by a student.

Female teachers were more likely to report being attacked by a student (6.0 percent) than male teachers (3.5 percent).

SASS is “a set of related questionnaires that collect descriptive data on the context of public and private elementary and secondary education,” according to the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2013, the joint report from the NCES and Bureau of Justice Statistics.

In 2011–12 SASS collected the responses of about 51,100 public school teachers and 7,100 private school teachers from across the U.S. to a questionnaire which asked teachers: “Has a student from this school ever physically attacked you?”

The survey defined a physical attack as “an actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against his or her will, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to an individual.”

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