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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

´╗┐Student Violence Against Teachers Is Increasing

An article in the June 3, 2023 issue of The Wall Street Journal ("'There Were Fists Everywhere.' Violence Against Teachers Is on the Rise") detailed the increased student violence against teachers. In one Nevada school district there were three dozen criminal battery assaults against teachers thus far this year. Yet the needed remedy is known and should be applauded by teachers, parents, and students. While youthful acting-out behavior varies in significance by age with a very young child's hitting often reflecting simple immaturity while a teenager's indicates serious developmental issue, the remedy is the same: having a comprehensive psychological assessment to determine the degree of psychopathology present and providing effective intervention.

But these cannot substitute for having school principals who won't tolerate such behavior and make this clear; and mandating legal consequences for assault. Having sufficient security staff is critical too. Several years ago there was public outrage after an assaulting teenager was pepper sprayed by police as they restrained him in school. Yet, as I then wrote, the benefit of this police action was that no one was hurt.
Learning and teaching cannot succeed where the safety of all is not assured. Nor should teachers be expected to be hostage to student rage.

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