Are Our Schools Safe?

Teachers and students have a type of relationship that requires having respect towards one another, but sometimes the respect between them disappears and, suddenly, the environment can become hostile and unsafe. 


Adolescents have a tendency of being “over the top”, but when they decide to take those tendencies too far and move them to a learning environment, some teachers may be pushed to extreme measures and make horrible decisions toward these actions. 


Although many claim that teachers are wrong if they exhibit force onto an aggressive student, teachers do have the right to defend themselves in these types of situations.


“Teachers have the right to a safe workplace, which includes being free from student harassment, threats, and attacks” states Stephanie Elsworth.


That said, there are still protocols that teachers must take before acting in these situations. 

In case of assault, ensuring the safety of others

  • Try to avoid responding physically 
  • If you have to respond physically to defend yourself or others, you should use reasonable force given the student’s age, size, and ability to inflict injury. 
  • Be sure the situation is stable and that a qualified individual assumes supervisory responsibility for your students. 
  • Contact the school nurse 
  • Immediately identify and record the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses, location, time of incident, and the facts surrounding the teacher. 
  • Source:


One instance in which the teacher did not follow protocol was at a school in Jefferson County, Kentucky, at Iroquois High School. The incident involved a ninth-grade teacher and a freshman (Kamron Jennings) who refused to put his phone away when instructed by the teacher. The student and teacher then started to spout foul language at each other. 

“I will throw your little a** out this window,” Jennings claimed her teacher yelled.

After these words were spoken, the student approached the teacher and shoved her; but then the teacher forcefully pushed the student back which started the fight. In this case, the teacher could have avoided any serious fighting if she had just told an administrator, but instead, she made the situation worse by fueling the student’s anger. 

“These assaults are ridiculous,” JCPS Board member Linda Duncan said. “I don’t know what else I can say about our need for officers. We have board members tuning out the voice of principals.” 

High Schools in Jefferson County have been struggling with a decline in the number of officers on campus. This said, schools like Iroquois High School have a higher rate of teacher-student altercations that make faculty and students question if their school is a safe learning environment or a battlefield.