Teachers' protection from student violence - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Teachers' protection from student violence


A gym teacher in NYC said a 6-year-old student beat him up, fracturing his ankle and injuring his knee.

That brings the question as to what can teachers and school administrators do to protect themselves and other students from a student who becomes physically violent.

School leaders tell Heartland News that training is the key.

Scott City Middle School Principal Michael Umfleet said some of their teachers go through training on how to diffuse a violent situation. He said they learn important tactics in dealing with violent students, like how to properly restrain a child in a way that won't bock the student's airway.

Dr. Sherry Copeland, the Assistant Superintendent at Cape Girardeau Public Schools said some of their teachers go through a similar training.

"We are very proactive in learning how to deescalate situations, and I think that's where it starts, do not push a student into a corner where the only way out is back at you, learning how to listen to the students of course, and setting high expectations for behavior for our students," said Copeland.

She said school officials work to understand why the student acted violently, and want to prevent any situation from becoming physically violent.

"Everybody knows the expectations of behavior, whether that's on the playground, in the cafeterias, on the busses, in the classroom, walking down the hall, they know those expectations, we practice those, how do you act on the bus, we get the students on a bus, this is how you sit," said Copeland. "And you think those things come normal to students, but not all students have been exposed to that, so we actually have to teach behavior."

Copeland said district policy allows administration to take a few different actions. They can have a conference with the student; give detention, in-school suspension, or out-of-school suspension for 1 to 180 days. In severe cases, they can expel a student.

Copeland said to decide on an action, administrators will look at past discipline records, the age of the student, and the level of the assault.

Since assault is a crime, Copeland said a teacher can press charges against the student if it reaches that level.

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