Skip Navigation
Click to open navigation

Indicator 5: Teachers Threatened With Injury or Physically Attacked by Students
(Last Updated: June 2014)

During the 2011–12 school year, a higher percentage of public than private school teachers reported being threatened with injury (10 vs. 3 percent) or being physically attacked (6 vs. 3 percent) by a student from their school.

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. The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) asks school teachers whether they were threatened with injury or physically attacked by a student from their school in the previous 12 months. During the 2011–12 school year, 9 percent of school teachers reported being threatened with injury by a student from their school (table 5.1). This percentage was lower than the 12 percent of teachers who reported being threatened with injury in 1993–94, but higher than the percentages of teachers who reported being threatened with injury in 2003–04 and 2007–08 (7 percent each; figure 5.1). The percentage of teachers reporting that they had been physically attacked by a student from their school in 2011–12 (5 percent) was higher than in any previous survey year (ranging from 3 to 4 percent).


Figure 5.1. Percentage of public and private school teachers who reported that they were threatened with injury or that they were physically attacked by a student from school during the previous 12 months: Selected school years, 1993–94 through 2011–12

Figure 5.1. Percentage of public and private school teachers who reported that they were threatened with injury or that they were physically attacked by a student from school during the previous 12 months: Selected school years, 1993–94 through 2011–12

NOTE: Teachers who taught only prekindergarten students are excluded. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), "Public School Teacher Data File," and "Private School Teacher Data File," 1993–94, 1999–2000, 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12; and "Charter School Teacher Data File," 1999–2000.


During the 2011–12 school year, there were no measurable differences in the percentages of male and female teachers who reported being threatened with injury during the school year (9 percent each); however, there were gender differences in the reports of being physically attacked (figure 5.2). Six percent of female school teachers reported being physically attacked by a student from their school, compared with 4 percent of male teachers.

There were some differences in the percentages of teachers who reported being threatened by a student and being physically attacked by the race/ethnicity of the teacher. In the 2011–12 school year, a higher percentage of Black teachers (14 percent) than White teachers and teachers of other racial/ethnic groups (9 percent each) reported being threatened by a student from their school during the school year. A higher percentage of Black teachers (8 percent) than Hispanic teachers (4 percent) reported being physically attacked by a student.


Figure 5.2. Percentage of public and private school teachers who reported that they were threatened with injury or that they were physically attacked by a student from school during the previous 12 months, by sex: School year 2011–12

Figure 5.2. Percentage of public and private school teachers who reported that they were threatened with injury or that they were physically attacked by a student from school during the previous 12 months, by sex: School year 2011–12

NOTE: Teachers who taught only prekindergarten students are excluded.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), "Public School Teacher Data File," and "Private School Teacher Data File," 2011–12.


The percentages of teachers who reported being threatened with injury or being physically attacked during the school year by a student from their school varied by school characteristics during the 2011–12 school year (figure 5.3). The percentage of elementary teachers who reported being physically attacked by a student was higher than the percentage of secondary teachers reporting it (8 vs. 3 percent). In addition, a higher percentage of public than private school teachers reported being threatened with injury (10 vs. 3 percent) or being physically attacked (6 vs. 3 percent) by a student during 2011–12.


Figure 5.3. Percentage of public and private school teachers who reported that they were threatened with injury or that they were physically attacked by a student from school during the previous 12 months, by instructional level: School year 2011–12

Figure 5.3. Percentage of public and private school teachers who reported that they were threatened with injury or that they were physically attacked by a student from school during the previous 12 months, by instructional level: School year 2011–12

NOTE: Teachers who taught only prekindergarten students are excluded. Instructional level divides teachers into elementary or secondary based on a combination of the grades taught, main teaching assignment, and the structure of the teachers' class(es). Please see the glossary for a more detailed definition.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), "Public School Teacher Data File" and "Private School Teacher Data File," 2011–12.


Public school teachers' reports of being threatened with injury or physically attacked varied among the states and the District of Columbia. During the 2011–12 school year, the percentage of public school teachers who reported being threatened with injury during the previous 12 months ranged from 5 percent in Oregon to 18 percent in Louisiana (table 5.2). The percentage who reported being physically attacked ranged from 3 percent in Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee to 11 percent in Wisconsin.


This indicator repeats information first reported in the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2013 report. For more information: Tables 5.1 and 5.2, and appendix B for definitions of instructional levels.