Much like their students, teachers can also be targets of violence and theft in schools. The personal toll violence may take on teachers can lead to safety concerns and may interfere with their ability to teach. Moreover, the cumulative effects of these concerns may ultimately cause a teacher to leave the profession (Scheckner et al. 2002; Ingersoll 2001). Looking at the number of crimes against teachers at school can demonstrate the extent of the problem. The National Crime Victimization Survey provides information about teacher victimization by collecting data on the occupations of its respondents. The survey reports offenses committed against teachers at school by both students and others.
Annually, from 1999 through 2003, teachers were the victims of approximately 183,000 total nonfatal crimes at school, including 119,000 thefts and 65,000 violent crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault; table 5.1).9 Among the violent crimes committed against teachers during this 5-year period, there were about 7,000 serious violent crimes annually, including rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. On average, these figures translate into an annual rate of 39 crimes per 1,000 teachers, including 25 thefts and 14 violent crimes (including 2 serious violent crimes), per 1,000 teachers.10
The average annual rate of violent victimization for teachers varied according to their sex, instructional level,11 and urbanicity (figure 5.1 and table 5.1). From 1999 through 2003, male teachers were more likely than female teachers to be victims of violent crimes (22 vs. 11 crimes per 1,000 teachers annually). Senior high school teachers were more likely than elementary school teachers to be victims of violent crimes (22 vs. 9 violent crimes per 1,000 teachers annually). In addition, annually over the 5-year period, urban teachers were more likely than rural and suburban teachers to be victims of violent crimes (20 vs. 9 and 7 crimes per 1,000 teachers, respectively). No differences were detected in the likelihood of teachers being victimized by violent crime according to their race/ethnicity.
Few differences were detected according to teacher characteristics in the rate of theft from 1999 through 2003, with the exceptions that White teachers were more likely than Black teachers to be victimized in this way (27 vs. 15 thefts per 1,000 teachers annually) and senior high school teachers were more likely than elementary school teachers to be victimized (36 vs. 20 thefts per 1,000 teachers annually).
|View Table 5.1|