WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — School violence is something that not only impacts students, but teachers, too.

“I’ve seen broken collarbones, concussions,” said J.C. Bowman.

Bowman is the executive director for the Professional Educators of Tennessee and said these are all things some teachers have experienced in the classroom.

“I have teachers tell me that they will not go to the bathroom during the day because they are afraid,” he said.

Some teachers have even spoken up before Tennessee legislatures pushing for more to be done, but earlier this year a new law was passed.

School districts now have to pay a teacher their full salary and benefits if assaulted on the job. The Williamson County School Board recently amended their policy to add in this change.

“It is a widespread growing problem that’s really going to make it hard to recruit teachers into the field,” said Bowman.

However, the violence teachers are facing on the job is something not only Bowman is noticing, but so is Dr. Susan McMahon.

“Forty-nine percent of our sample wanted to quit or transfer based on concerns about safety,” she said.

McMahon and members of the APA’s Task Force on Violence Against Educators and School Personnel conducted an assessment between 2020 and 2021, showing high rates of violence against teachers and other school staff members.

“You have more victimization and that leads to anxiety and stress, and that leads to people wanting to quit or transfer,” she said. “So that may not (be) surprising, but now we sort of found it in a research-based way.”

While Bowman is for Williamson County’s policy, he does question some of the changes made.

“The things that they added were things that were in the state law already,” he said. “So they should have added that in addition to, but the things that they struck out actually hurt teachers.”

The board struck out a part of the policy that said it would assist the assaulted employee through their attorney to their rights as a result of the assault. Also struck out was a portion explaining what would happen to the person committing the assault.

While this change doesn’t fix the problem, Bowman hopes it helps teachers feel safe and supported in the classroom.

“The teacher has to see that the school district and the school principal are really willing to deal with issues that are challenging the teacher,” he said.