Literature Review Of Violence Against Educators And Literature Criminology Essay

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Literature Review of Violence against Educators and Literature

Reviewing literature relevant to studying violence against literature is the intent of this chapter. The literature review will provide information to explore the research questions, and serve to explore the nature of violence against educators. The review will focus on violent acts and incidents of violent acts. Burrough (2004) stated that this is a time in which teachers have few options to deal with unruly students. Violent acts can be direct or indirect, and the actions can be as minor as theft of property or information, or escalate to property destruction, vandalism, arson, harassment, intimidation, stalking, or simply spreading rumors (Dingle, 2007). The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) published a survey in 1997 and which concluded in 2001 reported that 1.3 million nonfatal crimes were committed against teachers in a school environment (Burrough). Traditionally, society regards schools as safe havens for ,students and staff (Kondrasuk et al. 2005). A review of literature depicts significant physical violence and verbal threats in schools throughout the United States (Kondrasuk, et al, 2005).

An extensive search was conducted of refereed journal articles, government documents, online newspapers, and specialty organization documents through the University of Phoenix Library Internet search engines EBSCOhost and ProQuest. It was necessary to reference the reference and bibliography lists from appropriate literature for further searches on Internet search engines.

Historical Overview

Violence aimed towards educators is a silent epidemic plaguing the educational system (Aris, 2003). According to Needham (2005), the statistics of serious assault cases against teachers is alarming and this has been regarded as an occupational hazard in the workplace. However, there seemed to be reluctance among education authorities in addressing its root causes, and while they are hesitant, teachers become severely stressed and competent teachers are leaving (Aris, 2003).

The most frequent forms of violence against teachers were insidious in nature rather than outwardly threatening or physically violent actions. Incidents involving weapons were found to be relatively infrequent (Manitoba Teachers Society 1990, 1993; New Brunswick Teachers' Association, 1994; Nova Scotia Teachers' Union, 1996 as cited in Waheed & Youssef, 2007). Data from the British Columbia survey by Lyon & Douglas (1999) noted an incidence rate of 1.0% for both attempted and actual physical violence with a weapon in contrast to 29.5% for personal insults or name calling (Lyon & Douglas, 1999). Levin et al. (2006) observed that assaults were predominantly physical and occur either during classroom disputes or restraining students.

A violent act committed against educators is not just problematic in the United States but this phenomenon is experienced in other countries as well (Ruff, Gerding, & Hong, 2004). Flannery (1996) research indicates that Canada, Japan, and Israel are countries overwhelmed with this problem area in their school systems. Ruff, Gerding, and Hong stated, "Violence against school teachers is not a new phenomenon" (p. 204). Violence against teachers has been around since 1955 according to a research study conducted by the National Education Association (Hoffman, 1996).

The NCES (2003) revealed that within the period of four years from 1996 to 2000, violence against teachers recorded a worldwide incidence of 599,000. In the US where most violence occurred, 28 out of every 1,000 teachers become victims of abuse in school and 3 out of every 1,000 are raped, sexually assaulted, or robbed.

Understanding the implications of violence against educators and its range, there is a need to define violence (Kondrasuk, et al., 2005). According to Kondrasuk, et al., "Violence in schools range from verbally swearing at a school counselor to verbally threatening an administrator with bodily injury to pushing a custodian in the hallway to physically fighting with a bus driver to killing a teacher with a handgun" (p. 639). Webster (2009) defines violence as using physical force, particularly the type of physical force that is used with malice and/or attempting to harm another. Webster maintains that in some labor disputes court rulings, in order to cause harm to a business, picketing with falsified information is violence. The increasing media coverage of criminal activity on school grounds warrants additional research by scholars (Kondrasuk, et al.).

Hewitt and Levin (1997) define workplace violence as an, "assault which involves any aggressive act of hitting, kicking, pushing, biting, scratching, sexual attack or any other such physical or verbal attacks directed to the worker" (p. 83). On the other hand, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as, "violent acts, including physical assaults and threats of assault, directed toward individuals at work or on duty (USDHHS, 1996). Consequently, Ruff, Gerding, and Hong (2004) conclude workplace violence is any act of physical or verbal aggression against workers. Research dictates incorporating terms like assault, threat, and aggression in the definition of workplace violence (Ruff, Gerding, & Hong). Violence is the exertion of physical force to harm someone; assault is a physical or verbal attack; a threat is the expression of intention to inflict harm; and aggression is a forceful action intended to dominate someone (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2004). Ruff, Gerding, and Hong posits that these terms embrace a wide range of violent acts that victims have experienced in the workplace. In addition, these terms are often used interchangeably; however, they are different from one another by definition (Ruff, Gerding, and Hong).

The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education make school violence a joint priority; however, teacher safety is not a major concern (Levin et al. 2006). The U. S. Department of Justice identifies teachers as one of five groups at high risk for workplace violence. The U.S. Department of Justice National Crime Victimization conducted a survey in 1993 and concluded the survey in 1999 reporting that teachers are at greater risk of assaults that do not involve weapons. The ratio of simple assaults to aggravated assaults against teachers tripled that of other type of workers interviewed for the survey (Levin, et al. 2006). Students perpetrate most threats and assaults on teachers and to a lesser degree, parents threaten and assault teachers (Duhart, 2001; Johnson & Fisher, 2003). More importantly, there are few studies which investigate the consequences of violence against teachers (Bowers, 2004). Bowers posits that this study supports and advances the work of other researchers as to what is known in relation to teacher assaults (Ruff, Gerding, and Hong, 2004).

Vettenburg (1999) describes school violence as the existence of intimidation, threats, attacks, or property deliberately damaged of a school employee in circumstances resulting from activities within the school. There is a wide array of literature which focuses on violence against student; whereas, the literature on school violence against teachers is very limited (Ruff, Gerding, and Hong, 2004).

Factors associated with school violence against teachers

There are several factors associated with school violence against teachers:

Lack of parental supervision at home (Hoffman, 1996; Price & Everett, 1997; Valois, et al., 2002; Verlinden, et al., 2000);

The style of parenting (Hoffman, 1996; Hyman & Perone, 1998; Saner & Ellickson, 1996; Valois, et al., 2002; Verlinden, et al., 2000);

Verbal or physical maltreatment of children by school staff, including teachers, principals, and support staff, may influence children to become violent (Hyman & Perone, 1998);

The schools' overuse of police (Hyman & Perone, 1998);

The presence and participation of students in gangs is associated with school violence (Hoffman, 1996; Price & Everett, 1997; Valois, et al., 2002; Verlinden, et al., 2000);

Student involvement with drugs or alcohol is a factor associated with violence (Hoffman, 1996; Saner & Ellickson, 1996);

A chronic preoccupation with weapons (Pastor, 1995); and

The presence of impulsive behavior (Pastor, 1995; Valois, et al., 2002; Verlinden, et al., 2000).

There are indicators that teachers can use to identify potential violence in the classroom (Ruff, Gerding, and Hong, 2004). School absences, educational difficulties, a history of prior violence, and poverty are associated with manifesting violent behavior by a student (Price & Everett, 1997; Saner & Ellickson, 1996; Valois, et al., 2002; Verlinden, et al., 2000). The are other risk factors leading to violent acts, such as drug use, low academic orientation, low perceived parental and peer support, and low religiosity (Ruff, Gerding, and Hong). The more risk factors that a student has, the more likely the student is to engage in violent behavior (Ruff, Gerding, and Hong). Male students have more of a propensity to commit violent acts than female students perform (Ruff, Gerding, and Hong).

Benefield (2004) said that bullying against high school teachers peaked among the young and oldest implying they are most vulnerable. This could be attributed to the fact that these age groups are employed as part of the management staff. The regression analysis of Steffgen and Ewen (2007) revealed that significant predictors of teacher victimization were class oriented strain, time pressure, and quality of school environment. Chen and Astor (2009) suggested that occurrence of violence against teachers significantly differ by gender, grade level, and school type. Moreover, the most cited reason for engaging in violence by the perpetrators is the teacher's unreasonable expectations. Casteel, Peek-asa, and Limbos (2007) asserted that years of service, gender, and educational attainment were factors associated with teacher assault according to the random intercept logistic models constructed.

The National Center for Education Statistics (2009) demonstrated that within the period of five years from 1997-2001, rate of victimization of teachers varied across gender and instructional level. Male teachers registered a higher rate of 36 per 1,000 teachers compared to merely 16 per 1,000 teachers in the females. With respect to instructional level, violence more likely occurred among senior high school (31 per 1,000) and middle/junior high school teachers (33 per 1,0000) than elementary school teachers (12 per 1,000).

Another predictor is parental involvement with extracurricular activities suggested could result in physical aggression and worse, murder. Emergence of the "pushy parents" typology came about as the result of reported incidents of conflict between parents and teachers in academic and extracurricular activities (Kanter, 2002; Estes, 2002; Frean, 2002 as cited in May et al. 2010).

Magnitude of violence against teachers

An important element of this phenomenon is that teachers will not break up students fighting for fear of a lawsuit (Bowers, 2004). Students are aware that it is illegal for educators to strike or roughly handle them (Bowers). Educators worry that they have no recourse against students' abusive behavior towards themselves or others. While there are no existing statistics on how many teachers have sought "legal protection from students, educational experts contend that although these types of lawsuits are rare, their numbers are currently escalating" (Burrough, 2004, (p. 3). Teachers fear that students unjustifiably will use the legal system against them to control their classroom (Walker, 2008). In a Harris Interactive Poll "77 percent of principals and 61 percent of teachers indicated that they avoid decisions that they think are appropriate because of legal challenges" (Burrough, p. 3). The Teacher Protection Act is a component of the No Child Left Behind Act which immunes school employees from liability for injury of a child. This protection only applies to school employees who cause injury to a student during "efforts to control, discipline, expel, or suspend a student or maintain order" (Burrough, p. 3). Educators believe that this Act does not adequately protect them from undeserving lawsuits as well as not providing monies for attorneys fees (Burrough).

Bowers (2004) posits that when a student crosses the line of hitting a teacher, it attracts little attention from the public. Consequently, he maintains that students are aware that teachers or school staff cannot use any form of physical force to handle them (Bowers). The boldest and angriest students will unjustifiably use legal advantage against teachers. The first incidence describes how a high school physical education teacher in Virginia asked students out of their assigned areas to go back to their assigned areas. One of the students refused to go; rather, he used abusive profanity to let the teacher know that he was not going anywhere. The student was escorted to the principal's office for his behavior and when he arrived, he accused the teacher of grabbing his shirt. Witnesses cleared the teacher of the accusations. The teacher believed that the student should be held accountable and the next day filed charges against the student for his behavior. However, six weeks later the student's parents filed charges against the teacher declaring that the teacher poked and grabbed their child's head (Bowers). The teacher was suspended. The teacher's union recommended an attorney; however, the teacher had to pay the attorney's fee. When teachers become ensnared in legal battles with students, the cost is usually astronomical and their reputation suffers (Bowers). The parents of the student agreed to drop charges if the teacher dropped his charges. The teacher refused. The prosecutor dropped one of the charges against the teacher because of police officers' testimonies. The judge decided that the teacher was not guilty of the other. The judge found the student guilty of the cursing charge and fined $25.00 and then directed to write a letter of apology to the teacher.

Bowers (2004) posits that a school with a reputation of strong administration and staff is not an indication that a school is immune from incidents of violent acts against teachers or legal entanglement of involving teachers. In Virginia, two teachers went to the emergency room after breaking up two different fights. A counselor and student exchanged criminal charges after an altercation between them (Bowers). Another teacher was taken to the hospital after a student knocked her down in the hallway full of staff and other students. The prosecutor charged the student with a felony and sought to try the student as an adult. It is not common for teachers to incur injuries after separating fighting students (Bowers).

In Minnesota University, at least 5 per cent of teachers experienced physical assault while non-physical forms of abuse in 20 and 30 per cent of cases. Gerberich asserted inaccuracies in the statistics on nonfatal acts of violence against teachers because of serious underreporting (NIOSH project, 2004-2007 as cited in Waheed &Youssef, 2007). In addition, De Voe et al. (2002) found that threat with injury was experienced by 9 per cent of teachers while physical assault by a student was only 4 per cent.

Gerberich et al. (2006) provided evidence on the extent magnitude of physical assault (PA) and nonphysical violence (NPV) in randomly selected Minnesota kindergarten educators with rates of 8% and 35%, respectively. Verbal abuse was the most predominant form of NPV at 29%, followed by threat, 16%; bullying, 9%; and harassment, 3%. It also identified as perpetrators students, colleagues, and parents.

In 2005, a survey commissioned by the Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Federation showed that 38% were verbally disrespected by their students and mostly affecting female and supply teachers. A surprising outcome is that victimization was higher among elementary schools and those serving in rural Ontario. Other findings were the following: 82% were repeatedly disrupted and disrespected by students, 41% claimed that their personal belongings were damaged and stolen, 27% experienced physical assault, 16 % were verbally abused, and 11% were subjected to repeated racial, sexual and religious slurs.

Another form of violence directed towards teachers in cyber bullying. The COMPAS research in 2007 stated that 84% of educators in Ontario have been bullied in the Internet presumably by their students who spread gossip, criticize their appearance, and make threats of physical harm. Cyber bullying has become a contributor of teachers leaving the profession and it was found that one out of five teachers were victims of cyber bullies.

Campus stalking by students like any other crime against persons is underreported. Generally, there is physical violence in 32% of stalking cases and sexual violence in 12% according to Spitzberg and Cupach (2007). Schools officials have the tendency of discounting these cases unless actual threats, physical injury, or destruction of property is involved. When school administrators are bold enough to admonish potential perpetuators, there is a likely decrease of his or her stalking behaviors ("Campuses Both Hinder," 2005). It was noted by Wood and Wood (2002) that most stalkers find enjoyment in the negative attention they receive.

In a period of six months, there were 57 instances of parental assaults against teachers in Philadelphia public schools. Trump and Moore (2001) found in one Florida county, that 70% of school administrators experienced being threatened by a parent. There were three forms of threat are accompanied with intimidation, namely: verbal threats, non-contact threats, and physical contact. International studies showed that 140 members of the National Association of Head Teachers reported parental assault in UK for the year 2001 (Sellgren, 2001). In Edinburgh, at least 70 cases occurred in 2004 (Meglynn, 2005).

Costs of violence against educators

O'Malley (2010) divided the costs to immediate and long-term impacts of violence against educators. Short-term consequences of attacks included death, injury, damage to property and facilities, closure of schools, minor and major psychosocial impact on students, faculty and local communities, decreased school enrolment and retention, rising rate of teacher absenteeism, and disruption of examinations. In the long run, it may result in involuntary brain drain and difficulties in teacher recruitment.

Chronic or pervasive victimization of teachers was found to result in negative developmental outcomes, decreased academic performance, disrupted relationships, coping mechanisms and social functioning (Shakoor & Chalmer, 1991). Likewise, they will likely present the symptoms associated with the "battered teacher syndrome" which include anxiety disturbed sleep, depression, headaches, elevated blood pressure and eating disorders (Goldstein & Conoley, 1997).

McGovern et al (2000) computed the financial cost of work-related physical assaults in Minnesota based on a 1992 data. The 344 non-fatal work-related assaults cost an estimated $5,885,448. In their study, assault injury rate for SPED teachers was 27.2 percent per 100,000 and an average $4,888 in cost per case. On the other hand, secondary and elementary teachers recorded assault injury rates of 9.9 and 8.0 per 100,000 employees, respectively, with costs averaging $ 6,483 and $16,062 per case.

The website of the US Department of Labor computed the direct and indirect cost for mental illness per person and found that it cost $ 27,004 and $29,704, respectively. Moreover, for mental disorder per injured person, the direct and indirect cost was estimated at $ 37,420 $41,162, respectively.

Furthermore, Fisher and Kettl (2003) noted that more than half of the teachers perceived that violence or the threat of violence directly affect the quality of education they provide their students. This agreed with Mushinski (1994) who emphasized that as the number of students bringing weapons to school lowered educational quality as perceived by the teachers.

The British Columbia Teachers' Federation survey in 1999 suggested various negative repercussions among teachers who were victims of violence such as fear, perceived decrease in teaching effectiveness, and low job satisfaction. In terms of the physical and emotional symptoms, the survey results agreed with Lyon and Douglas (1999). The physical symptoms were sleep disturbances, headaches, and fatigue, and the emotional symptoms were frustration, anxiety, irritability, anger, and stress.

Policies on violence against teachers in schools

Given the extent of the problem, the school should adopt stringent measures in order to ensure safety and protection for students, teachers, and society in general. Across the country, information on the compliance of schools towards recommended interventions are as follows: 94% complied with zero tolerance for firearms and 91% for weapons other than firearms, 96% made it a requirement for visitors to log in before entering school premises, 80% did not allow students from leaving campus except for emergency purposes, 53% controlled access to school building and 24% to school grounds, 4% conducted metal detector checks randomly and 1% daily. Police and law enforcer visibility needs close attention from school authorities and this poses increased vulnerability of teachers to be victimized by students. Seventy-eight percent have assigned police or law enforcement representatives to safeguard the premises and 12% had police or other law enforcement only when needed. Police duty among schools varied significantly in terms of the number of hours. Six percent of schools required their at least 30 hours of police duty on a weekly basis; 3%, between one to nine hours; and 1%, between 10 to 29 hours.

Analysis of DeVoe et al. (2002) indicated variation in the utilization of security technology in schools. Drug sweeps were done in 21% of schools, video surveillance, 15%, random metal detector checks 8%, and daily metal detector checks 2%.

Recent literature also noted differences in security technology usage. Garcia (2003) was able to examine the type of security technologies used in 15 states. Her research yielded the following results: video cameras were most common (90%) then recording devices (85%), 50% of school districts had weapon detection system and metal detector wands were most employed. The least used was entry control devices which is only 18% of participating districts. Lastly, use of duress alarms was reported by 40% (Garcia, 2003).

Konter (2002) examined the perception of teachers toward the zero tolerance policy. The results suggested that these policies are perceived to be effective in maintaining discipline inside the school campus and consistent with fulfilling the school's goals pertaining to violence reduction. It was also considered to be beneficial. They also agreed that with this policy, there is minimal probability that violent incidents occur within the school.

An option to curb violence is the school uniform policy. Anecdotal evidence would suggest approval of principals to the school uniform policy. Take for instance, a principal of Stephen Decatur Middle School, Maryland strongly believed that students will become more behaved during uniform days than on non-uniform days (Viadero, 2005). A principal of Long Beach Unified School District who became a respondent of Felch (1996) said that the implementation of the school uniform policy reduced the number of fights by half from 1,135 in SY 1993-94 to 554 in SY 1994-95. However, Brusma (2006) said school uniforms had no impact on school's climate expect among eighth grade principals' perceptions that wearing uniforms compromises school safety.

Current Findings

Researchers have written many books over the years regarding the lack of discipline or the lack of respect students have toward teachers (Pedota, 2007). Researchers agree that the United States is experiencing a shortage of teachers; the research cites the most frequent reason for the problem of staffing and retaining qualified individuals is the lack of student discipline (Macdonald, 1999; Tye & O'Brien, 2002). Miech and Elder (1996) concluded after interviewing new and veteran teachers who left the profession primarily due to discipline in the classroom. The teachers pointed out that there was not enough time spent on classroom management and they were not trained or educated to deal with an actual classroom which contributed to the feelings of frustration, anger, and helplessness. Walker (2008) reports that teachers claim that violent acts committed by students and extreme behavioral problems are downplayed by school administrators. Expecting teachers to accommodate the menacing behavior of students inflame frustrated teachers (Walker).

In any classroom of the United States, school disciplinary policies and practices are essential features (Cameron, 2006). Cameron characterizes school discipline as school policies, the intervention of undesirable student behavior, or prevention actions taken by school personnel. by school personnel. Discipline primarily focuses on school conduct codes and security methods, suspension from school, corporal punishment, and teachers' techniques for managing students' actions in the classroom (Cameron).

Research indicates that by the year 2010, children of color will garner 40 percent of learners in a classroom (Applied Research Center, 2000). While 85 percent white females will remain in the classroom (Applied Research Center). Lesko and Bloom (1998) posits when discussing educating urban students, researchers agree that students are not disciplined and they do not have high regard for teachers while putting emphasis on the aspiration to teach in a monocultural mode. It would assist teachers address the lack of respect by becoming multicultural (Hill-Jackson, Sewell, & Waters, 2007).

Members of the community informed the Pinellas School Board that black students, especially the black male students, intimidate the white teachers in the southern section of the school district (Winchester & Matus, 2009). However, one of the high school principals in the district expressed that students' intimidating teachers is a problem for the faculty and staff with both the black and white students. Further, the principal expressed the need for training for teachers so they would understand the cultural background and the heritage of their students (Winchester & Matus). More importantly, a community activist advised the school board that students not only intimidate white teachers, but that African American teachers are afraid of the students as well (Winchester & Matus). Some of the community members believe that the disrespect borders racism. However, teachers expressed that it is not racism but rampant disrespect and dysfunction displayed by students they serve (Winchester & Matus).

Fenton (2009) reported that a 16-year-old girl memorialized on a cell phone camera an assault of a high school teacher. With the assistance of the Internet, this violent act captured the attention of the nation on school violence in Baltimore schools. The circuit court judge cleared the student of the serious charges filed against her and found her guilty of the minor charge of disrupting school activities. He announced that he was disgusted at the actions of the teacher and the student. His ruling measured the evidence carefully and concluded that the evidence presented was evenly balanced. He also recognized the fundamental principle, that is, it is important for teachers to maintain order, respect, and discipline in the classroom. The student's attorney successfully argued that the teacher provoked the fight and had no right to hit the student first. However, the president of the Teachers Union was outraged. She articulated that the acquittal of the more serious charges sends the wrong message to the students at the school. She claimed that students would interpret the acquittal as permission to do whatever they want to do in the classroom. The assistant state attorney proclaimed that the education suffers when students demonstrate this type of disorderly conduct (Fenton, 2009). Teachers will not feel safe in their classrooms (Walker, 2008).

Turque (2009) reported that in a Washington, D.C. ninth grade academy safety and discipline issues have been a source of tension between teachers and school officials. The problem between the two factions is there are no witnesses to classroom and hallway incidents with teachers and students. Therefore, it is difficult to confirm allegations teachers report and determine whether the conditions at the academy are better or worse than other schools in the District of Columbia (Turque). It is unusual for teachers to go public with the allegations. However, two teachers recently decided it was time to advise the public of the horrendous working conditions that faculty and staff suffers on a daily basis. The academy is housed at another school while their school is under construction. As a result, the school where they are housed temporarily is overcrowded and dangerous (Turque).

According to Turque (2009) in the view of the teachers, the students are stuck in the middle and are angry because of their overcrowded classes. The principal of the academy claims that the two teachers are distorting the facts in order to deflect attention away from the teachers' professional shortcomings (Turque). Two other teachers who were assaulted by students spoke to the media anonymously because they feared loosing their job if they spoke out publicly about their experiences at the academy (Turque). The president of the teachers' union is appalled at the principal's assertion and claimed that this situation is a perfect example of administrators blaming teachers for violent acts committed by students (Turque).


The problem of school violence is deeply rooted in our society (Shuman, 1995). Shuman states that recording the realities of school violence in the press and the nightly news reports shocking and should be addressed for the sake of the students' education. American youth receive subliminal messages suggesting that violence is a viable means of problem solving. It is for this reason that further research in this area is a mandate in order for teachers to assist the angriest students become well-adjusted adults (Shuman). Violence is a constant reality in which secondary school teachers and administrators continuously looking for solutions (Shuman). All of the members of society must confront the issue of school violence directly.

Chapter 3: Research Method

The purpose of this qualitative research study is to investigate violent acts committed against educators in secondary schools. A review of the literature will show that in the United States, violent acts, both physical and verbal that exists in schools (Kondrasuk, et al., 2005). In order to understand this phenomenon, qualitative research will be effective in obtaining culturally specific information about the values, opinions, behaviors, and social contexts of the sample population.


The study will employ a qualitative approach. Using a modification of the Delphi method, the first series of surveys will be presented via email to obtain information from teachers on how often they encounter violent acts from students. The presentation of the second survey will be presented to via email to gather information on how administrators handle reported acts of violence against teachers. Participant observation will be used for the second stage of the study. The final stage will include in-depth interviews with the sample population. This study assumes that the same sample of participants have encountered acts of violence where school administrators do not adequately address them.


Two random sample surveys of 25 teachers and principals from five secondary schools in Lynwood Unified School District located in Lynwood, California will be assessed with open-ended questions. Teachers eligible for the survey will be those serving for more than one year and not suffering from any neurobiological or psychological disorder.


The data gathering tool will be composed of questionnaire asking the respondents how frequently they experience violence against them. The items will be copied from Tillman et al (1999). The seven items are related to the perceived frequency with which the selected teachers personally became victims of violence using a five-point scale as follows: 5 = almost daily, 4 = several times a week, 3 = several times a month, 2 = every few months, and 1 = never. Special attention will be accorded to physical assault and verbal attack. Then during the interview, teachers and principals will be asked these questions, Are there any policies are available for handling violent acts against teachers at secondary schools located in Lynwood Unified School District? Would a violence prevention program prevent school-based violence at secondary schools located in Lynwood Unified School District? and Does a school-based violence program exist in the secondary schools located in Lynwood Unified School District?.

Data Gathering Procedure

Twenty five subjects comprising of faculty members and principals will be recruited for the study in Lynwood Unified School District located in Lynwood, California. The researcher will first secure consent from the school district, then requested each of the teacher's cooperation, and had each of them sign the informed consent letters to signify their willingness to participate in the study. The researcher will then lead the teachers and principals to a semi-structured interview comprising open-ended questions. The questions will prompt the respondents to share their thoughts and insights on past experiences of violence against them, existing policies for handling these cases, perceptions on a violence prevention program, and whether a violence prevention program exist in the secondary schools within the Lynwood Unified School District.

The interviews will be recorded using a tape recorder in order to analyze the data. A semi-structured interview is deemed appropriate for this study because of its flexibility and provides opportunity to ask follow-up questions.

Data Analysis

After questionnaires will be administered by the researcher, responses will be tabulated, analyzed, and interpreted. To address the first research question, response means will be computed for individual statements on the perceived frequency of personally experiencing violence or extent of victimization. Overall mean of victimization will also be computed. To interpret individual items, verbal description will depend on the value of the mean. If the statement yielded a mean of 1.00-1.80, it will imply that the respondent did not experience the form of violence specified in the item; 1.81-2.60, every few months; 2.61-3.40, several times a month; 3.41-4.20, several times a week; and 4.21-5.00, almost daily. Responses from interview questions will form basis for research questions 2, 3, and 4. To accomplish this, the researcher will carefully review the audio tapes and transcripts of interviews. After which, responses will be thematically clustered from which insights and explanations will be given to provide a better understanding on the research problems.

Ethical Issues

Important ethical issues will be considered and addressed in the proposed study. Responses to the questionnaires and interviews will be treated with utmost confidentiality and only the researcher will perform the analysis and interpretation of the results. As explained earlier, permission to use information will be requested and secured. Lastly, participants will remain anonymous and no incentives will be offered to take part in the study. Therefore participation of the respondents is voluntary.

Expected Findings

This research study assumes that the selected sample is experiencing violence against educators in secondary schools in the Lynwood Unified School District. Because of this, the study will be able to provide empirical basis for the improvement on the safety features of the school environment to ensure protection of rights of teachers. This will provide basis for researchers and school administrators to revisit, study, and test the effectiveness of existing policies and measures in preventing violence against educators. The results of the study are expected to prompt researchers in medicine and sociology to proactively translate their respective researches into interventions that can be effectively replicated. It will also enable school nurses to come up with interventions that could mitigate the physical and health impacts of violence against educators. Most importantly, the findings will be expected to urgently implement prevention and intervention programs to lower the incidence of violence against educators in these secondary schools. To accomplish this, education authorities in the district together with school owners should jointly work together in restoring trust between teachers, students and parents, as well as provide better quality education.


This descriptive, qualitative study is designed to explore violence against educators in five secondary schools in the Lynwood Unified School District. The data to be collected from the survey which will be the responses to the questionnaire checklist on the frequency of victimization by Tillman et al (1999) and the semi-structured interview on policy-related issues pertaining to this problem. Analysis of data will involve both descriptive statistics and theme clustering. Ethical issues shall also be addressed during the course of this study.