Writing my way through the school year!

And no, those four marks represent the word “H-E- Two sticks”, not the other word. Although I have to admit, I  don’t know what word that teacher was thinking at that moment it happened. She was slapped. Slapped hard.  By a first grader. Seriously?

I remember 7th grade, George Gershwin JHS in East New York, Brooklyn, Felicia hit our teacher. No, I can’t remember the teacher’s name, but I remember hers.  We were shocked, but suffice to say, what followed next, shocked us even more. The teacher hit her back! It turned into an all-out, hair-pulling brawl! All the students were screaming, the librarian was yelling for help, it was total and complete chaos!

I had a student in another class elbow me, hard, when we were on a class trip. I allowed my class to get on the ferry first, and he didn’t appreciate that. (The teacher and I had decided to alternate) I couldn’t do what I wanted to do to him, so I told my principal when we returned. My principal at the time, arranged a meeting with the boy and his parent. He was made to apologize, and was suspended for two days.

What do you do when a student hits you? Even more importantly, what can you do? What are your options?  I know hitting a student back is not a viable solution. (Even though laymen I have shared this story with beg to differ). BYOG (Bring Your Own Gun) is such a scary option, you would think I made it up.

What message is being conveyed to the other students?  Does it affect the way the students view you in the classroom?  I guess it would depend on the how the teacher and administration handle the situation.

My friend’s husband told her if a student hits her again, she should go straight to the principal’s office and put in for medical leave.  But another friend pooh-poohed that solution. She said it would leave the other students, the ones that don’t hit, without a teacher, and I agree.

Thank goodness this was a first grader, but I know there are situations where older students hit their teachers. I’m sure the consequences are more serious, and the damage  done to the teacher is more serious than a red mark on the cheek. How many teachers return to work after being hit by a student?

In a society where violence is depicted on television and video games as fun and games, how hard is it to get our students to understand, life is not a video game. When you hit someone in “real life”, it hurts!

And the bigger question is, what can be done to protect teachers from being the recipient of this behavior?


Comments on: "“What the #@*%? Did You Just Hit Me?” When Students Hit Teachers!" (12)

  1. If a student hits a teacher a police report, sherriff’s report should be filed. Teachers have the right to be safe in their workplace. Just because it’s a “kid” doesn’t make it any less acceptable. I have 5th graders bigger than me and it not okay they use their physicality to intimidate their classmates or their teachers. If they haven’t learned that respect at home then the law and counseling, I guess, will have to suffice as their “parents” in this issue.

  2. Ellen Simonis said:

    As a teacher of older students, and as a teacher who was assaulted, the damage is not always physical. I was pushed – did it hurt me physically? No. But it seriously damaged me psychologically. I received little to no support from the administration. I filed assault charges against the student. Putting in for medical leave is probably not going to be supported – take a couple of sick leave days and contact your union. This is an area where the blame is still placed heavily upon the victim.

  3. Richard Cottingham said:

    Shortly before I retired a sixth grade student forcefully shoved me aside and ran out the classroom door. I had detained him briefly upon bus dismissal to reprimand him privately for boisterous behavior during afternoon announcements just before the buses were called.

    The principal said there was nothing she could do about it because I was standing in the doorway which constitued physically restraining him and physical restraint was not allowed except to prevent injury.

    The fact was that I was at least four feet inside the doorway and there was plenty of room for him to go around. Also, he had not asked to leave and been denied.

    The principal explained too that he was anxious that he would miss his bus and have no other way to get to his home. Had he missed the bus he would simply have had to walk next door to the High School and ride home on the bus his big sister would be riding. Both he and the Principal knew this.

    It was obvious the Principal was just making excuses for the student.

    At some point teachers must begin to insist that site administrators become accountable for the maintenance of order and discipline in the schools, especially in cases of physical threats to teacher safety.

    Unfortunately I do not see that as a likely eventuality.

  4. I worked in special education as an aide, and got punched, bitten, hair-pulled, etc, all the time by furious children between the ages of 4 and 7, most of whom either had autism or serious behavior disorders. I thought I was tough! Then I subbed as an aide in a high school special ed class and got socked in the face by a fourteen year old! Guess I’m not so tough after all… it made me decide I DEFINITELY want to stick to working with the little guys!

    • Why should we (teachers/paras) have to be hit, bitten, called b*****, and have chairs thrown at us? What other professions allow is type of behavior without any consequeces happening, besides In-School-Suspension? And if you’re a special ed. teacher you still have to give that student instruction even in ISS. After two days in ISS the student comes back to your classroom. Someone please help me understand why we have to be treated this way. Oh, before you think “her classroom management is weak” . My classroom management is very strong.

  5. How did you all move on with your careers after this experience? I am hit daily by my kindergarten students (today I was punched in the groin, hit repeatedly with a chair until I was able to wrestle it away, had my laptop thrown to the ground, and was pulled down by my ponytail …that was one student…I was shoved repeatedly in the shoulder by a different student who told me to “F” off…they both remained in my class for the remainder of the day and I am not aware of a suspension) and have been renewed on a growth plan twice now because of ‘poor classroom management’. I was even choked by a student and received a letter stating that “the incident was largely due to (my) lack of proper supervision”…bear in mind, his hands had to be within reach of my throat…I have already resigned pending next year, but am concerned about irreparable damage to my good name, health concerns (I have suffered from panic attacks and memory loss as a result), and to my other students’ psyche. Were you able to find work in another district? Did you have a similar experience with your administration?

    • I was punched in the face yesterday by one of my fifth graders. He continued to attack me until I was helped by another teacher. I was told I can’t press charges because he is on a behavior plan. The school will be hearing from my union rep because I spoke with a police officer myself and he said that’s a load of crap. Just because they have a plan doesn’t mean they don’t have consequences.

  6. This week a twenty-year-old student shouted at me and shoved me in class. I had to shove him back to get him off me. Physically it was not that serious, but how can I teach in such a situation? He was defiantly trying to create an incident. I am an ethnic minority and race is most of the issue. I have no union and am afraid of being fired. My reputation and career could be destroyed. All my other classes are fine and I have never had a physical attack of any kind in twenty years of teaching.

    • Just an update: I was not fired. Someone else, who was just showing videos and not teaching, was fired. I had to take over her classes. Since then I have been promoted, have a lot more responsibility, work and pay.

  7. I am in a Preschool Special Ed classroom, and I cannot tell you how stupid I feel when all I can do when a child physically assaults me is say “Please don’t hit me.” When ever one of my students doesn’t get what he wants he throws a fit, hitting, kicking me other students, throwing chairs, throwing toys, screaming. The worst part is when his mother comes in and tells me I cannot protect my other kids from his tantrums because, no kidding, he has sensitive skin, so he must not be restrained. All of this is happening with no help at all from the administration who I might add do not spend any time in the classroom themselves. The average person would never believe how evil some 4 year olds are. This job has made me not want to have any children of my own it has gotten that bad.

  8. Christina said:

    I took a students cell phone. She’s picks up a desks flips it over and pushes me against the wall. I injured my arm. The student was allowed back in class the next day. She received no consequences for her actions. I got fired . Basically while I was being attacked I called her a @#$%! . But I was scared .

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