Violence against teachers

No matter what one feels about a teacher, pushing one is totally unacceptable. Sure I had teachers I wanted to hit, throw shoes at and push off cliffs. But I didn’t because that would just be heinous, despicable…

Today one of my students shoved me more than once. Actually he’s no longer my student. My class had seven bad eggs who were pulling the rest of the class down. At first, the school wasn’t too bothered until one day when I just lost it. I was ready to quit. When I gave detention, they pet the kids and told them to behave. When I insisted, they told me not to because it would make me unpopular. Like I’m there to make friends. When I issued pink cards, they would, again, give the kids a warning (pink cards are complaints that go on their permanent records). Once I insisted upon issuing the pink card and it was given to the kid who in turn went home and wept. He created this whole fuss about how I was targeting him. So his mother refused to sign it and sent it back. The result? He was free to do as he pleased again.

Actually this student is quite a conniving little fellow and his parents let him get away with murder. At the parent teacher meeting, I expressed my concern and told them that he had a behaviour problem. They refused to believe me. They kept implying that I was lying and kept defending him. “You’re the ONLY teacher that has a problem with him!” they declared. I was left stupefied. If my teachers had said something like that about me, my mother would have hung me upside down from a fan and then switched it on full blast. In fact, they were so clueless and delusional about their child that they kept telling me how all the other teachers loved him and how he was the best thing that could ever happen. They told me to adjust my behaviour and they implied that I deserved what I got. What really pissed me off was the fact that I had heard three other teachers complain to them in front of me. I have severe issues with parents like that and I’m very glad I don’t have to deal with them anymore.

So, at the beginning of this term, I kicked out 7 boys. I was more than happy to be rid of them. It’s one thing to have a bad student, but it’s quite another to have a bad person as a student. They’re still royal pains in the behind though. They make a huge effort to disrupt the class and take ages to leave when I walk in. But today just took the cake…

I walked into class. The sports teacher gave the kids permission forms for something or the other. I don’t really care. The offender- the one who pushed me- grabbed all the forms and started pretending to distribute them. In reality, he was causing a ruckus and deliberately stalling. His teacher, for reasons unknown to me, doesn’t care if they show up late, so they feel free to wander around at will. That’s why they deliberately cause havoc and make a huge show out of leaving. They take ages to pack their bags. The kid with the delusional parents always yells and makes one hell of a lot of noise. Today, when I complained about that, he lied with such a straight face that I was left amazed. And I completely blame his parents.

Anyway, the violent child who was pretending to distribute the papers, had to be told off. He absolutely refused to leave. I took his bag and was going to put it outside so that he wouldn’t make a big fuss about the bag. He often takes about two whole minutes to hoist it on his back. He saw me take the bag and he grabbed it. Knowing that I had a firm grip on it, he grabbed it and started shoving me. I managed to hold on to the bag and I put it outside. Once outside, he started shoving the door into me. He knew I was standing behind it since it is mostly glass. He could see me quite clearly. He repeatedly shoved the door into me. Then he left.

I was livid. I couldn’t believe that a student would ever resort to physically abusing the teacher. Never did I think it would happen to me and I truly hope it doesn’t happen to another teacher. The Principal was very understanding. She gave him a tight slap, which was really quite satisfying to watch. Then she suspended him for 2 days.

The people who know me are as livid as I am about this. In fact, a few have suggested that this punishment isn’t enough. I don’t know what to think anymore. Private schools are equally to blame for this terrible attitude. They cater to the parents and the result- not to the actual development of the child. I don’t think they educate in the true sense. Yes, they are a far better option than our local government schools, but that’s not enough. It’s not enough to get good grades. A good education should teach you respect for humanity and the environment. I feel damn lucky to have been part of UWC for I truly got a wonderful overall education there. We need schools like UWC here desperately. I aim to open one as soon as I can save enough money. It’s a long way off, but I am adamant about making it happen some day. I certainly don’t ever want to see my siblings’ kids in any school that doesn’t provide them with a comprehensive education. The O level system is ridiculous. It’s based on gimmicks and points. I have personally taught kids who can hardly speak English, yet they got A’s. The system has been cracked and the leaks are soon going to burst. Anyone with me?

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37 thoughts on “Violence against teachers

  1. You bet we’re livid, this little SOB should have been expelled. Suspension for 2 days isn’t going to do him any good; in all likelihood it’ll be like a long weekend for him.
    Still, he’ll (hopefully) want to avoid incidents like this in the future.
    The next time he’s in class with you, stare him full in the eye and make sure he leaves well within your time limits.

    Ironically, I too had a pretty horrible experience today, I forgot to mention it to you over the phone because we were talking about the protest… I had a 6th grader yell at me and tell me it wasn’t “his fault if you (meaning me) can’t hear properly”. This was in response to me catching him attempting to switch group members for work assigned to him by another teacher and then denying it! I don’t know why I didn’t report him, I have so much trouble with this kid it’s not funny. The worst thing is, the administration won’t do anything about it. Nada. Towards the end of last term he was so rude to me they promised me they’d remove his “Class Rep” (a sort of honorary position he was elected to via class democracy, *shudders at symbolism of lack of education of the masses*) badge. And did they? No, you might not be too surprised to hear, they did not.

    It’s high time these outdated O-Level systems were removed from our syllabuses; do you know that even in Britain, etc, they do a more updated version?!
    We should consider switching to the IB programme, if not the diploma, then at least the primary and secondary programmes. And before people start telling me it’s too expensive: Please! Considering how much money most private schools here make, the switch would be WELL within their budgets!

  2. Your school will continue to have problems since it has such weak administrators. This might sound like something that never happens but it does. In a five year period 1.3 million teachers were victims of non-fatal attacks in school. This spring I have a new book coming out on students and parents bullying teachers and administrators. It is titled Attacking our Educators. The book looks at why, how, where, and what contributes to this issue. It has over 80 solutions addressing school and teacher safety. A two day suspension is really another term for vacation. Thanks and have a great day.

  3. hi nabiha
    i really feel sorry for you ,i don’t know what to say i hope things will get better but i really like one thing that you take it objectively ,i thing you raised a good point about the state of private schools.i thing the schooling structure should be change.we can find some of our answers in amir khan tere zameen par i guess like tzp there should be enough social activities for developed of child personality.
    what do you think.
    regard
    humza ikram

  4. I think we need to actually educate! The O level system should be eliminated. Social service should be made compulsory, as well as varied activities. Music, art and theatre should be taught alongside science. I could go on and on… huge changes need to be made. I hope to one day have the support and resources to do so. Thanks for visiting Humza.

  5. hi nabiha
    actually you are right in saying social service should be made compulsory ,i remember one my conversation with my chachoo ,his punjabi poet and now lives at states he told me how authorities tried to confuse as.he gave me an example how punjabi literature was discourage and first punjabi writting was published in 70’s ,the sad part was we were made to beleive we will be better pakistani if we write and read in urdu and ultimatlely better muslims.and because of this some of the best literal punjabi writtings were wasted . and one of our religious party went on saying speaking punjabi is a kufr and fun part was he was himself .
    the same mindset is adopted by the authorities of private school as well the children of those time and now the have become parent.the measure of child growth they have is how good or bad grade they get in exams ,and beleive me that the only criteria the have.

    regards
    humza ikram

  6. You’re right that Punjabi is discouraged. It should be taught. I am an non-Punjabi speaking Punjabi. Only now do I realise the value of it, and I’m quite embarrassed to admit that I can understand it, but not respond. I must pause to give LGS credit here. They do teach Punjabi at the junior and senior level. I think they’re one of the only private schools that teach it. I wish others would follow this example.

  7. that great to hear LGS are teaching punjabi, but they have other issues which are hard to digest,last year my went to lgs for admission of my nephew he was then 2 and half years old the adminstration told her that he was too young for the admission and this year when went there told he is now 3 and half he is too old for an admission .
    regards
    humza ikram

  8. thats great to hear LGS are teaching punjabi, but they have other issues which are hard to digest,last year my sister went to lgs for admission of my nephew he was then 2 and half years old the adminstration told her that he was too young for the admission and this year when went there told he is now 3 and half he is too old for an admission .
    regards
    humza ikram

  9. i am not in lahore anymore ,my sister told me on the phone she went to LGS and adminstration is telling her this,she told Wali(my nephew) didn’t like lgs anyway it was an old building his is now at LACAS.
    but after you told me lgs is teaching punjabi i am thinking he will be missing something great.
    regards
    humza ikram

  10. Hello everyone,

    Because of the increase in teacher violence (there seems to be a story everyday), I have tried to get more involved in the national discussion. I am trying to establish a centralized site for the issue of violence against teachers. If you have any other stories or insight to make the site better, please visit

    http://www.safeteachers.com

    Thanks and stay safe

  11. I am a middle school teacher in Pomona, California, USA. I can tell you that we did have a male teacher physically attacked this year by an eighth grade student. Also, a few days ago I had a student tell me “I’m gonna have my momma come down and cut you up!” I have been with the district for five years and although I cannot verify the following, I have heard from more than one credible source about a teacher who was tied up with electrical cords while the students vandalized the rooms. What is almost as bothersome as the threats and the violence that we have to endure is the lack of administrative support. The minute that the student denys what he or she has done, we go from being a victim, to having to defend ourselves and being asked what we did to provoke them.

  12. I was no angel either, but violence didn’t even cross my mind. I was also utterly bored in subjects like Pak Studies and Islamiyat. These particular kids weren’t under-challenged; in fact, they were struggling with basic things like punctuation. At this point they were studying Shakespeare and not really understanding it poor things! We had to teach it like a story instead of the way an actual O level subject would be taught. No essays, only quizzes type stuff, and yet they were struggling. They had all failed actually, but the school passed them because their parents threatened to pull them out and the Principal told me very openly that they didn’t want to lose money. The kid who pushed me was admitted from some terrible school- god knows why. His English was abysmal, as was his understanding of most subjects, but LGS was just desperate for numbers and money! (I’m feeling bad saying this considering my phuppo is an owner, but sorry! This has to be out in the open! Schools need to be held accountable for this nonsense, and let this be a resounding, embarrassing, public reason why good teacher don’t stick around!)

  13. elsabeth: public schools systems suck everywhere, except some of the rich neighborhoods. I’m sorry to hear that. I hope the kid was suspended…

    I don’t want to buy in to the Republican rhetoric, but I certainly do feel that teachers cannot replace parents; parents have to teach their kids ethics and etiquette… and instill good learning ability in them. How much can public schools do? :/

    nabiha: why don’t you move?

  14. Interestingly, I went to LGS Islamabad. I don’t know if that’s the LGS you’re referring to.

    Violence definitely had crossed my mind when I was younger. Sometimes teachers can treat students really badly, and students want revenge as a result. One of my teachers (not in LGS) used to degrade, bully and humiliate us, and my bad behaviour was mostly a reaction to her. I didn’t think it was right for children to be oppressed in this way.

    In retrospect I was a complete idiot, but I thought I’d mention the role of the teachers to give you the other perspective. Though I don’t condone the behaviour of those boys, sometimes there is genuinely something wrong with the system.

  15. Yes, parents do need to instil values, but the problem is the jahalat if you know what I mean… The parents themselves are pretty jahil in a lot of cases, and some of the boys’ attitude is quite disgusting. Those who come from backgrounds where their women are under lock and key feel that we’re too “liberal” because we don’t cover our heads or preach everything from an Islamic point of view. It’s ridiculous… I taught at Aitchison in Lahore and whole experience is worth writing a book about but it still makes me angry to think about the way I was treated, not just by the students, but by the disgusting politics in the faculty in general. The kids there are perverse and completely unable to think for themselves. The sort of phone calls I used to get were also pretty disturbing since they reflected just how tough my job was. As one of the only openly secular, feminist teachers who constantly challenged them, I had to endure slander on the internet, which included orkut groups promoting me as a prostitute, and sexually explicit descriptions of what they would do to me. I once addressed this issue in class by blatantly asking them how they would feel if this was being done and said to their mothers and sisters. They were obviously shocked since that thought hadn’t even occurred to them and put up feeble protests like “Ma’am why are you making this personal?” And I did say, “well… because I am someone’s sister too you morons!”

    The whole concept of moving is just something I haven’t been able to decide on yet. Right now I’m not in Pakistan anyway- I’m in Brighton doing an MA. No idea where my life will take me. My only goal is to do as well as I can and get published if possible.

    Butter, the system is deeply, deeply flawed. And the schools don’t care as long as they churn out results and make money.

  16. And I’m referring to LGS Main Boulevard- the one opposite Centre Point. Main owner is Mrs Yawar Ali, Principal is Dr Shazia. The supervisor, Salman Yasin, ex-headmaster of Aitchison’s senior school, who was also my boss at Aitchison, is a brilliant man, but he’s obviously limited by the system. Frankly, I think he should open a school. It would be incredible.

  17. One day I will reveal all! Muahahaha! If I “disappear” after it, at least you all will know who is behind it since the most rich and powerful men of Pakistan run Aitchison. Incidentally they’re all filty rich but they paid us as much as drivers make, and cut money for stupid things like water and being sick. Not kidding. Water! despite the fact that they didn’t even give us clean drinking water (we had to buy it from the overpriced canteen) or tea… we had to buy our own kettle and mugs, so I was quite livid at being charged for flushing since I didn’t use any other water. And they charged if you went to the school “hospital.” Half the salary would disappear and they wouldn’t even bother justifying it while they drove around in their Pradas with big fat Rolexs’.

  18. Unbelievable. I’m rethinking my plan of possibly working in Pakistan for brief periods in the year. In any event I wasn’t going to be a school teacher, but it’s still an ugly reminder of ‘work culture’ in Pakistan.

  19. Don’t bother if you don’t know the system and how to handle the politics, but the word reminder suggests you already know that it’s just one huge pain in the ass. It varies from industry to industry though… for some reason, education if notorious for the worst politics in Pakistan.

  20. well if the teachers can’t help much and the parents are jahil… surely all is lost. yet humanity has taught its young even though our ancestors were once all jahil too… heck, i can trace back my family history to what i like to call “definitional losers” i.e those who DEFINE the term losers and are also defined by it. 😛

    but hey… someone must be working very hard – be it parents or teachers – to enlighten the little tykes.

  21. I was attacked by a student yesterday at in the classroom that I was working in. I am a technology teacher, but was filling-in for a teacher who was out and didn’t have coverage. So, I know this student from coming to my tech. lab every week. This student “Michael” (not real name), was only in the classroom approx. 20min (from special ed.) before he started a fight with one of the other boys in the classroom. Several students were holding onto Michael to get him to stop fighting. At that time I told Michael that he needed to go to the office “NOW!”. When the students released Micheal, he went after the boy again. I restrained Michael around the shoulders, and escorted him to the classroom door and told him to “go to the office”. Michael ran back at the door (assumingly to get at the boy again to restart the fight). I blocked the door, pushed him back out, and said “GO!”. Michael punched and scratched me on the arms, chest and stomach. I put my left hand on the back of his neck, and right hand on his right shoulder and again escorted him to the hallway. In response Michael turned around and said “I’m gonna mess you up!”. He then continued to punch and scratch at me repeatedly on the arms and chest. I pushed him away. A paraprofessional from our building came and restrained him. I had to pry my clothes and skin out of his grasp to get away. He eventually got away from the paraprofessional and was pounding on the classroom door and windows, trying to get back in the classroom. I was inside the classroom by then holding the door shut. Finally, the principal came and escorted him to the office. Michael ended up running from her, as well and had to be chased around the school building. I took pictures of my injuries and documented the incident with the police. I’m sort of being cold shouldered among the staff for doing so because our enrollment is down and we need students to avoid more layoffs. The student recieved 4 days suspension for verbally threatening a teacher, and physically attacking a teacher. I do not feel this is enough, but since he is a special education student (reading and math difficulties only), little else will happen to him. Michael has a history of violent behaviors with other students, and spends time in the principal’s office on a daily basis for blalent defiance and/or violence.

    Thanks for listening! I really needed to share this since no one around here seems to think much of the event, including union reps. I’M with anyone who wants to stand-up against student violence against teachers. It seems that teachers are under attack for theirs jobs, wages and benefits these days, do we really have to suffer at the hands of the students, as well? Did I mention that I am one of several (3+) teachers that have been assaulted by students this school year, with little done?

    • Hi,

      That is truly horrifying. I’m so glad you’ve told me. It’s the worst case I’ve heard of yet & I’m appalled he isn’t being expelled. I agree that we teachers are treated like dirt in general & have to put up with A LOT from students. I’m quitting teaching because I just can’t take it anymore.

  22. I know these stories are terrible and true. I work in the schools and am horrified by the behavior and the parents complicity. The district is planning to ban the use of the grade of F removing one more way of making students accountable. Being a believer is not a factor in a school that bans any mention of God or Christian religions. The internet policy bans religious research of all kinds. But it is permitted to look at any website that discusses wiccan.

  23. I have been teaching high school and middle school for sixteen years. I have been directing recreation programs and working with children and their families for over twenty-five. I have experienced one threat with threatening behavior which required in a restraining order.against the student and a suspension. I have had a large literature book shoved into my hand which bent my thumb back and required a hand and thumb brace. Another student pulled me out the door by the lanyard while I was locking the new “lock down” door. My neck was injured. A student tripped me and seriously sprained my ankle; she was sitting in the front row and stuck out her foot. I’ve been pushed when standing in the hallway while supervising during passing period. I also suffered an injured arm when I broke up a fight. A male student was punching his girlfriend. The most recent incident is a fractured wrist which I suffered this past week. I simply told a student to put her phone away. I then told the student I wanted the phone when she would not put it away. this is the school’s phone policy which I have been practicing for years. I put my hand out and she hit my wrist. She then grabbed and twisted my hand and wrist as I tried to pull my arm away. This does not include the verbal abuse I experience weekly and sometimes daily for simply telling students to take out paper or to sit up and be attentive and participate rather than sleep.

    In the past the administration would inquire about my well being if I had been injured. This last time the administrators where more interested in investigating the incident. I had to demand that I be relieved in my classroom, so I could go to the Emergency Room. I waited an hour with a fractured wrist and no ice. The student was suspended for two days for defiance and is allowed to remain in school while she awaits expulsion. The school district police did not arrest her or cite her. I had to go to the D.A.’s Office. The student was cited charged with two felony charges of battery and battery against a school employee. The D.A. told me to that their is nothing the courts can do to remove a child from any school.
    NCLB has created this problem. School administrations are too worried about reporting violence, suspending and expelling, because it will lower a school’s AYP and API.

    What teachers need is defensive training. We do not need more classroom management training as experienced teachers.We need the same type of training social workers receive from universities. Here are some of my ideas… Do not wear a lanyard. Do not turn your back on the class. Do not walk between the aisles (feet and backpacks are obstacles). Allow one student at a time to approach your desk. Do not allow students to go behind you while you are at you desk. Have your back to a wall if possible. Have a clear path to the door. Have one student at a time get their books, sharpen pencils etc. Students should turn in their own papers.to a basket. Have consistent rules and consequences. Be a tape recorder and practice you responses. Do not get in a child’s space. Respect their property. Do not expose your arms or hands to a student; you’re setting yourself up for attack. Do not stop fights. Call for assistance or use the panic button. Do not block a student’s path at the door or anywhere. Do not inquire or become involved in the personal troubles of students but acknowledge the concerns of the child and refer to counseling. Be warm, but focus on academics. Students externalize emotions rather than internalize emotions in this generation (The possible cause may be more violence on T.V., video games, focus on electronic devices and the intense attentional rage which occurs from the addiction, or teaching children to verbalize needs in an extreme manner and then the self esteem worries of adults. Parents fear of followinf through on the word “NO.”
    Lastly–remember to engage students while you’re building your arsenal and remember classrooms are a complex environment. Be alert. never go to work with a cold! Finally, never show you are weak or share too much personal information. Secure your Smartphone or lock it, so if it is stolen the students do not know where you live. These are the “new” recommendations for teacher safety from the APA and some of my own suggestions. Do you have any ideas? The more we know as educators and the more we share, the better protected we are. I don’t want to experience another injury in order to learn how to learn how to protect myself.

    • Thank you for your comment. I’m very sad to hear all this! I actually got so sick of the daily verbal abuse from the students that I quit teaching formally. Now I do workshops & private tuitions where I can simply kick out whoever doesn’t treat me decently. I have a simple rule: “be good to me, I’m good to you. Be bad to me & I’ll unleash my wrath.” It works.

    • Oh goodness, I cannot imagine having to deal with physical violence & verbal abuse of such form. It makes me worried sick about my significant other who is training to be a teacher. He hasn’t told me anything about his internship but did mention that he faced physical violence from his classes who are students ages 13-17. It makes me worried.

      It is sad that self-defence measures such as those in your comment needs to be set up – they read almost like how one should behave around threatening animals. And that is truly sad, that we have youth so dysfunctional that people devoted to their education must fear them…

      Where I come from, when I was younger, we students feared and respected teachers. Sure I wished I could be violent or shout a few curse words at some teachers who overstepped their authority but this is really too much. :S

      I am so worried now, so worried now… Due to regulations, he can’t retaliate (or he’d get sued)so he puts up with what could be punches and shovings or worse….Oh god…

  24. Hello, I’ve been in LGS and never had I heard of a kid such as this. And yes they did teach us Punjabi. One should send their kids to the fouqet branch in Johar town, its brilliant, still miss the days. Now i’m in senior branch LGS JT, and that too is brilliant. On the money making thing, yes the LGS admins are quite greedy, ah well. On the parents thing, I don’t myselves believe this, my parents would actually kick me out of the house, it once happened that one teacher didn’t had anything bad to say about me at a PTC and my mother couldn’t believe it. She was like ‘He must do something bad’ and the teacher was like ‘No he’s fine’ and my mom was flabbergasted. I too had a lot of mischief makers in my class in the old days, but they soon filtered out as the studies got tougher. Most of them shifted to other schools as studies got tougher and they failed. Most of the mischief makers went to LGS paragon.

  25. I do not like to diss others but the paragon network of LGS, under Salman Yasin has brought LGS a lot of disgrace. This includes the 6 E/III the 39 Main and the the paragon itselves.

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