Violence against teachers requires solving problems outside the classroom

Crime in School

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A cycle of problems outside the classroom is creating a vicious result of violence against teachers in Nashville.

“They throw chairs, they throw desks. They get into fights and a teacher tries to intervene and they get injured,” said Metro Nashville Education Association President, Amanda Kail.

Kail says it’s something that’s on the minds of teachers every day. “We live in an era, unfortunately, in which there are far too many news stories about shootings at schools.”

But what’s the cause? Kail predicts it’s a combination of understaffing within the school district and a lack of emotional support to students that need it.

“You have kids that are coming in with some pretty big problems, not getting what they need. You have school employees that are stretched really, really thin trying to meet those needs,” Kail said.

According to MNEA, 30 percent of teachers leave the school system each year. And with more retiring, experienced teachers are not able to provide support to new educators.

“Nine times out of ten, even the most difficult student, once you make that effort to develop a relationship and they trust you, most of the problems go away. But we can’t do that when we have a revolving door of teachers,” Kail said. “I mean it’s a recipe for disaster.”

Teachers see a lot of that trauma, and Kail says they take it home with them. “I can think of situations in which I had students who were more than I could handle. And you know there might have been times where I was afraid. But at the end of the day, I went home and laid awake at night and thought what am I not doing right?”

Kail says the solution lies with funding. More money to pay teachers a competitive salary and support programs to help students with emotional needs would be ways to fix the problems.

“Our employees should not be afraid to go to work. Students should not be afraid to go to school. And the students that find themselves completely out of control should know that when they come to school there are professionals there that can help them and get them what they need. That’s what we should have.”

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