School Climate & Safety From Our Research Center

How Many Teachers Have Been Assaulted by Students or Parents? We Asked Educators

By Lauraine Langreo — August 09, 2022 1 min read
Empty classroom in blurred background.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

More than 4 of every 10 educators said at least one teacher in their district has been physically assaulted or attacked by a student in the past year, a new EdWeek Research Center survey found.

In addition, 10 percent of educators said they personally have been physically assaulted or attacked by a student, according to the survey of 1,042 district leaders, principals, and teachers conducted between July 27 through Aug. 8.

Principals were the most likely to say they have been attacked, with 20 percent reporting such incidents. Eight percent of teachers reported being assaulted, and 5 percent of district leaders said they had similar experiences.

The findings echo recent survey results conducted by other organizations, such as the American Psychological Association, as well as anecdotal reports that pointed to an increase in student behavioral problems.

Some educators suggest the rise in student misbehavior could be associated with challenges related to returning to in-person learning after extended periods of remote or hybrid instruction. Many educators who took the survey lamented that there are students who don’t know how to interact with other people in the classroom setting.

“We had the worst year in terms of behavior and outbursts from students and parents we have ever [had],” said a middle school principal in Michigan who took the survey. “It was a year of emotional outbursts that we weren’t prepared for.”

An Indiana district leader agreed: “Student and parent behavior was worse than I have ever seen in 40-plus years of being a public school educator.”

Some educators also noted that managing student behavior is difficult because students often do not face proper consequences after physically assaulting or threatening a staff member. A district leader in Minnesota went as far as to say this is the reason “we are losing a lot of teachers.”

Other educators also mentioned having to deal with disrespectful behaviors or threats from parents. But most educators (82 percent) said no one in their district has been physically assaulted or attacked by a parent or guardian in the past year, the survey found.

education week logo subbrand logo RC RGB

Data analysis for this article was provided by the EdWeek Research Center. Learn more about the center’s work.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes with Teacher-Student Relationships
Explore strategies for strengthening teacher-student relationships and hear how districts are putting these methods into practice to support positive student outcomes.
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Transform Teaching and Learning with AI
Increase productivity and support innovative teaching with AI in the classroom.
Content provided by Promethean

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety 'Swatting' Hoaxes Disrupt Schools Across the Country. What Educators Need to Know
School lockdowns can cause stress to students, teachers, and families, even if threats don't materialize.
8 min read
A bald man and a woman with long brown hair tearfully hug a teen girl who is wearing a pale beighe backpack. Three women look on with concerned expressions.
A family shares a tearful reunion after Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, Texas, went into lockdown because of a false report of a shooting.
Kin Man Hui/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
School Climate & Safety How to Spend $1 Billion in School Safety Funds: Here's What the Feds Recommend
A "Dear Colleague" letter from the Education Department puts a priority on creating inclusive, equitable school environments.
4 min read
The U.S. Department of Education urged schools to use federal funds to support the social, emotional, mental, and physical health needs of students in a "dear colleague" letter sent Sept. 15.
Third grader Alexis Kelliher points to her feelings while visiting a sensory room at Williams Elementary School in Topeka, Kan.
Charlie Riedel/AP
School Climate & Safety A Pair of Retired Military Officers Makes a Case Against Arming Teachers
Their comments come on a call organized by a national teachers' union pushing back against the school safety strategy.
3 min read
A man in a black polo shirt with short sleeves holds up a hand gun in front of a projector screen that shows a diagram of a gun with labeled parts.
Clark Aposhian, president of Utah Shooting Sport Council, holds a pistol during concealed weapons training for 200 Utah teachers, in West Valley City, Utah.
Rick Bowmer/AP