Federal Report: 220,300 Public School Teachers Physically Attacked by Students

By Terence P. Jeffrey | April 25, 2019 | 4:15 PM EDT

(Getty Images/Mario Tama)

(CNSNews.com) - A record 220,300 public school teachers reported that they were physically attacked by a student during the 2015-2016 school year, according to a report jointly published this month by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The 220,300 public school teachers who said they were physically attacked by a student in 2015-2016 is up from the 197,400 who said they were attacked by a student in 2011-2012 (which is the last school year before 2015-2016 for which teachers were surveyed on the question).

In 1993-94, the first year that public school teachers were surveyed on the question, 112,400 said they were physically attacked by a student.

The 220,300 public school teachers who said they were physically attacked by a student in 2015-16 equaled approximately 5.8 percent of the 3,827,100 public school teachers the NCES estimates there were during that year.

The NCES also estimated that the 197,400 teachers who reported being physically attacked by a student in 2011-12 also equaled 5.8 percent of the total public school teachers working that year.

Prior to that, in the years going back to the 1993-94 survey, the highest percentage of public school teachers who reported they had been physically attacked by a student was 4.4 percent in 1993-94.

The data for 2015-16 comes from the NCES’s National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS). The data for previous school years going back to 1993-94 comes from the NCES’s Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), which the NTPS has now replaced.

The data was published in “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2018,” a report released online this month by NCES and BJS. (The data on the number of school teachers who reported being physically attacked by a student in 2015-16 was also previously published in “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2017.")

The questionnaires used in the surveys asked teachers whether in the past 12 months a student had threatened to injure them or had physically attacked them.

“The percentage of public school teachers reporting that they had been physically attacked by a student from their school in 2015-16 (6 percent) was higher than in all previous survey years (around 4 percent in each survey year) except in 2011-12, when the percentage was not measurably different from that in 2015-16,” said the new report.

“Students are not the only victims of intimidation and violence in schools,” the report said. “Teachers are also subject to threats and physical attacks, and students from their schools sometimes commit these offenses.”

The report indicated that female teachers were more likely than male teachers to be physically attacked (but not more likely to be threatened) by a student and that elementary school teachers were more likely to be both threatened and physically attacked by a student than secondary school teachers. (An elementary school, according to the report is one “in which the lowest grade is less than or equal to grade 6 and the highest grade is less than or equal to grade 8.” A secondary school is one “in which the lowest grade is greater than or equal to grade 7 and the highest grade is less than or equal to grade 12.”)

“During the 2015-16 school year, there was no measurable difference between the percentages of male and female public school teachers who reported being threatened with injury by a student (10 percent each…),” said the report. “However, a higher percentage of female public school teachers than male public school teachers reported being physically attacked by a student (6 percent vs. 4 percent).”

“The percentages of public school teachers who reported being threatened with injury or being physically attacked by a student also varied by the instructional level of the teacher,” said the report. “During the 2015-16 school year, a higher percentage of elementary public school teachers than of secondary public school teachers reported being threatened with injury (11 vs. 9 percent) or being physically attacked (9 vs. 2 percent) by a student.

Of the 220,300 teachers the report says were physically attacked by a student in 2015-16, only 35,100 were male teachers while 185,200 were female, the report indicated in Table 5.1.

174,700 of the 220,300 teachers who were physically attacked by a student were elementary school teachers, Table 5.1 indicated, and 45,600 were secondary school teachers.

 

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