Violence Against Teachers Raising Concerns Locally, Statewide
ST. CLOUD - A report released this week by the Bureau of Justice Statistics says 6.5 percent of teachers in Minnesota public schools have reported being physically attacked by a student.
The report adds that 11.4 percent of Minnesota public school teachers have reported being threatened by a student. This is above the national average of 10 percent.
The Bureau of Justice numbers are from the 2011-2012 school year, during a 12-month reporting period.
Mary Broderick is the President of the St. Cloud Education Association, she says violence against teachers is creating concern at local school districts and statewide.
"We really feel it's important to get to the bottom of what's causing these things to happen. There may be some situations where expulsion or a punishment of that type would be appropriate, but in many cases it's about a kid that needs more support and resources."
Some state lawmakers are proposing laws that would implement tougher penalties, like immediate expulsion for students who assault their teachers. Other proposals involve adding more security staff to schools.
Broderick, however, believes focusing more on behavioral services for students in need should improve teacher safety.
"When you come to the idea of teachers being injured, it's usually not something that a security move would have helped. It's usually something with a student who really has significant concerns in their own life."
Broderick says the SCEA and District 742 have had "climate meetings" this year that were spurred mostly due to concerns about teacher safety. Both groups are continuing to work to ensure every school in the District has resources to help at-risk kids.
"I think we're making progress but there's always room for improvement," Broderick says.