This was a rough year for students and teachers alike. How do we address the rise of student-to-teacher bullying? Let’s discuss.
Bullying is a Problem and It’s Only Getting Worse.
In 2023, it affects students and teachers alike.
Bullying has always been a concerning issue in schools, but in 2023 teachers are increasingly becoming the target of bullies.
According to a report by the National Education Association, more than 80% of teachers have reported being verbally or physically harassed by students, with some incidents resulting in serious injuries.
Causes of Student-to-Teacher Bullying
There are various reasons why students bully their teachers. Sometimes they are burnt out. Sometimes students want attention. Sometimes they want to impress their friends.
With the increasing influence of technology and social media, students are becoming more aggressive toward authority figures.
Types of Bullying
This year a student dislocated a teacher’s arm, another slapped a teacher, and I have had my life threatened.
Several students posted death threats against on social media for things as simple as asking them to turn off their AirPods. I call parents. I log the situation. I report it to admin, but there is only so much we can do and we largely have our hands tied.
Schools Have Their Hands Tied
Public schools keep records and document dangerous behavior. After so many infractions, schools will expel the student. We call them “opportunity transfers.” Students move to a new school, and the new school places the student on a contract.
However, should the student violates the rules, the school sends the student back to their home school. Many students end up going back and forth. Students end up without academic or emotional support.
The lack of parental involvement and support also contributes to this issue. We have lots of great parents at our school. Many parents are involved and want to know about their students.
Unfortunately, many parents do not want to know their child is difficult or need help. Sometimes they are afraid to know. Sometimes they know and don’t know what to do.
Another factor that leads to student-to-teacher bullying is the teacher’s age and experience. Younger and inexperienced teachers are more vulnerable to bullying as they may lack the skills and confidence to manage disruptive behavior. I wrote a blog post about it. You can read it here.
I work at a Title I school which means the school does not perform well. We have many low-income families, and most students perform below grade level.
We’ve had AmeriCorps, Teach For America, and other non-profit programs at our school. They are great resources, but they often send young teachers straight out of college. They are ill-equipped to handle the types of students in our classrooms.
Effects of Student-to-Teacher Bullying
Some teachers may also quit their jobs or retire early due to the constant harassment they face. This year one of our teachers had a mild heart attack and another teacher intern died.
I suffer from migraines. I’ve seen teachers have complete breakdowns from the stress. It is unhealthy for the teachers and students who witness these events. Bullying has a detrimental effect on students’ academic performance and social development.
Bullying can also create a hostile and unsafe learning environment, which affects their overall well-being and mental health. The students at our school cannot relax. They always have their guard up. It is not conducive to learning.
Possible Solutions for Student-to-Teacher Bullying
Schools and policymakers must take a multi-faceted approach. One solution is to increase awareness and education about the effects of bullying.
1. Empathy & Respect
Students should understand the importance of respect, empathy, and responsible behavior toward their teachers and peers.
2. Support & Training
Schools must also provide teachers with adequate training and support to manage disruptive behavior effectively. Training should include the development and implementation of effective classroom management strategies. Students should have mentors.
3. Counseling Services
Schools need to provide counseling services to teachers and demonstrate how to create a safe and supportive environment for teachers.
4. Parental Involvement
Involve parents and the greater community in addressing the issue of student-to-teacher bullying. Schools should encourage parents to become more involved in their child’s education and behavior.
5. Community Outreach
Community groups and organizations should take part in promoting positive and respectful behavior.
Conclusion: Stop Student-to-Teacher Bullying
Student-to-teacher bullying is a serious issue. It affects the well-being and academic performance of both teachers and students. Schools, policymakers, and communities must work together to address this issue and create a safe and supportive learning environment for everyone.
Bringing awareness, providing support and training, and promoting positive behavior, will create a better future for our children and educators. The sooner we address the problem, the sooner students can get back to learning and teachers can get back to educating.