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Teachers face violence, harassment from students: study

January 16, 2013

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Washington – Teachers are at risk for violence and harassment from students, yet the issue has received little attention from the media and researchers, according to a study from the American Psychological Association.

APA surveyed 2,998 K-12 teachers in 48 states. Of those, 80 percent reported being victimized at least once at school in the current or prior year. More than 90 percent of the cases involved students as perpetrators, the study (.pdf file) states.

Regarding the type of offense, 72 percent of teachers reported harassment, 44 percent said they were physically attacked, and 50 percent were victims of theft or property damage.

APA offers several recommendations to prevent such violence, including creating a national registry to track incidents. Citing this and other studies on the subject, researchers called for administrator awareness about school safety issues, policies focused on support and training of school employees, and further research on violence against teachers.

The study was published online Jan. 7 in the journal American Psychologist.

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