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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007
NCES 2008-021
December 2007

Indicator 5: Teachers Threatened With Injury or Physically Attacked by Students

In the 2003–04 school year, a greater percentage of public teachers in city schools than their peers in suburban, town, or rural schools reported being threatened with injury or physically attacked.

Students are not the only victims of intimidation or violence in schools. Teachers are also subject to threats and physical attacks, and students from their schools sometimes commit these offenses. In the Schools and Staffing Survey, teachers were asked whether they had been threatened with injury or physically attacked by a student from their school in the previous 12 months. A smaller percentage of teachers, 7 percent, were threatened with injury by a student from their school in the 2003–04 school year than in 1993–94 and 1999–2000 school years, 12 and 9 percent respectively (figure 5.1 and table 5.1). A smaller percentage of teachers reported being physically attacked in 2003–04, 3 percent, than in 1993–94, 4 percent (table 5.2).

A greater percentage of teachers in city schools reported being threatened with injury or physically attacked in 2003–04 than teachers in suburban, town, or rural schools (figure 5.2 and tables 5.1 and 5.2). For example, in 2003–04, 10 percent of teachers in city schools were threatened with injury by students, compared to 6 percent of teachers in suburban schools, 5 percent of teachers in town schools, and 5 percent of teachers in rural schools. Five percent of teachers in city schools were physically attacked by students, compared to 3 percent of teachers in suburban schools, 3 percent of teachers in town schools, and 2 percent of teachers in rural schools. A greater percentage of teachers in suburban schools reported being threatened with injury or physically attacked than teachers in rural schools.

In the 2003–04 school year, teachers' reports of being threatened or physically attacked by students varied according to the level of their school. A greater percentage of secondary school teachers, 8 percent, reported being threatened with injury by a student than elementary school teachers, 6 percent (table 5.1). However, a greater percentage of elementary school teachers, 4 percent, reported having been physically attacked than secondary school teachers, 2 percent (table 5.2). Generally, a greater percentage of elementary and secondary teachers in city schools reported being threatened with injury or physically attacked than elementary or secondary teachers in suburban, town, or rural schools (figure 5.2). For example, in the 2003–04 school year, 12 percent of secondary teachers in city schools reported being threatened with injury compared to 7 percent of secondary suburban school teachers, and 6 percent of town and rural secondary school teachers.

A greater percentage of public than private school teachers reported being threatened with injury (7 vs. 2 percent) or physically attacked (4 vs. 2 percent) by students in school (tables 5.1 and 5.2). Among teachers in city schools, those in public schools were at least five times more likely to be threatened with injury than their colleagues in private schools (12 vs. 2 percent) and at least four times more likely to be physically attacked (5 vs. 1 percent).

Public school teachers' reports of being threatened with injury or physically attacked varied among states. In 2003–04, the percentage of public school teachers who reported being threatened in the previous 12 months ranged from 4 to 18 percent (table 5.3), and the percentage who were physically attacked ranged from 1 to 7 percent (table 5.4).

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