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Violence between students and teachers: no easy solutions

The relationship between educators and their students is unpredictable. In the best-case scenarios, the relationship is positive and valuable. In other cases, it is strained and volatile.

In the latter of these situations, it is possible for physical altercations to occur, particularly as children get older. If this happens, it is critical that the people involved receive support and guidance to resolve this complicated issue, especially if there is the possibility of school penalties and/or criminal charges.

Assault against a teacher

Did you know that an estimated 5.8 percent of teachers were assaulted by students in the 2015-2016 school year, according to federal data? This means that tens of thousands of teachers are physically hurt and many more are threatened in the course of their job.

Adults who are assaulted by a minor can face a number of challenges, from how to defend themselves to how they should respond professionally. Many teachers feel like quitting while others wind up facing assault allegations themselves.

Assault against a student

We expect teachers to have the skills and capabilities to handle disruptive, difficult students without physical force. While the vast majority does, there are far too many who resort to violence and threats against students.

Recently, for instance, a student accused a teacher of assault after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. These types of incidences are troubling, and they are difficult to address because teachers may have access to resources and support that individual students do not.

Addressing assault issues in schools

There is no easy way to address violence between students and teachers; many states have tried and failed to pass legislation attempting to do so. This means that every one of these cases should be closely examined and addressed on an individual level to ensure that any penalties handed out are fair and purposeful.

As such, if you are involved in this type of situation as a teacher, student or parent, it can be critical that you have legal guidance as you deal with school administrators and law enforcement agencies. 

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