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Are teachers at risk of violence in America?

If you work in a school, you know that you have to be very careful about how you treat your students. Raising a hand to hit a student could be enough to threaten your job.

Some teachers are aware that students can become violent, and those situations are particularly difficult to handle. What should you do if a student lashes out? Can you fight back, especially when students are older and able to cause you harm? If you do fight back, you could find yourself accused of abuse or violence, even though you were fighting to protect yourself.

A nationwide survey showed that around 80 percent of teachers had been victimized in some way by their students within the last year. These students, ranging from small children to college-aged professionals, could cause real harm to their teachers. Despite that, it's the burden a teacher has to bear; if a teacher strikes a stude nt or harms him or her in some way, it's possible that the tables could be turned and cause the teacher to face allegations of violence.

Fortunately, schools are becoming more aware of student behavior. Students with poor behavior often have a record within the school that shows that they're dangerous, aggressive or harmful to others. If that's the case, then there's a good chance that a teacher fighting back against aggression could end up defeating the allegations of violence.

Your attorney can help protect you against unfounded allegations or one-sided arguments. You have a right to protect yourself and shouldn't face charges as a result of doing so.

Source: American Psychological Association, "Understanding The Truth About Violence Against Teachers," Libby Kuffner Nealis, MSSW, accessed Feb. 15, 2018

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