An eighth-grader ran across a gym and stabbed a New Jersey elementary school principal during a graduation ceremony rehearsal before a teacher could take the student’s knife away. As reported by the North Jersey Record, the 14-year-old stabbed the principal in the chest repeatedly with a folding knife.
The principal did not suffer life-threatening injuries, but the incident is a reflection of how educators across the nation are facing increasing numbers of attacks by physically aggressive students.
Two teachers and paraeducator threatened and kicked by knife-wielding student
In another knife incident, this one in Connecticut, a high school student in a cooking class attacked two teachers with a chef’s knife. As reported by the National Education Association, the altercation resulted in a paraeducator falling to the floor after the student kicked her in the stomach and then reached for the chef’s knife. It took two teachers about 15 minutes to get the knife out of the screaming student’s hands.
Government study shows an alarming trend
Based on a national school crime and safety study, 6% of the teachers participating in the data collection reported incidents in which students physically attacked educators. The 2018 study, a joint effort conducted by the Departments of Justice and Education, also showed that 10% of the teachers reported a student threatening them.
Dr. Dorothy Espelage, an expert in youth aggression and an advisor to the U.S. Senate and Congress, points out that some middle–school students are bigger than some teachers, which creates unsafe conditions for all parties involved. In one incident in Minnesota, a teacher suffered a traumatic brain injury after an attack by a larger student.
Educators injured by student assaults may seek workers’ compensation
The aftermath of an assault may leave the victim with a need for medical treatment and time off from work to recover. Both issues bring added and often pressing financial concerns into the picture. To provide relief, workers’ compensation is available for teachers and school workers injured on the job in New Jersey. Injured teachers may obtain benefits to cover medical expenses and to make up for wages lost when required to take time off.