This communication is to make us all aware of our rights and options when ANY student K-12, general education or special education, assaults us in ANY way!
Assault can include any strike, kick, punch, slap, spit, hit, head butt, stabbing, throwing objects, etc.
The protocol recommended is to do the following:
1. IMMEDIATELY report the incident to the administrative supervisor and/or principal. Document the event via email and/or paper work while the event is fresh in your mind recalling
Who witnessed the event or may have been involved or present during the assault (staff, parapros, students, etc)
Where it occurred (lobby, cafeteria, room #, location within room, etc)
When it occurred (day of week, date, time of day),
What exactly happened (describe the assault in detail – hit with which arm? kicked? spit? use of weapon? etc) What part of your body seemed injured or involved at the time? Communicate all these details to the administration! You should Cc copies to the PEA president as well firstname.lastname@example.org as well as to yourself at your private email and to your building’s PEA representative.
2. Seek medical attention immediately! Even seemingly minor incidents can result in undiagnosed blood clots leading to stroke, infections, bone diseases and hematoma hours or days later. DO NOT assume ‘you’re okay’. This can be covered by the employers policy but do not wait to be checked out – sooner is better and safer.
3. Notify your union representative as soon as possible. Helping you get through such a traumatic event is a benefit of membership and we will work proactively to see your health and safety are paramount!
Too often the mistakes that are made and that harm others in profession are:
1. Lack of documentation: Teachers fail to memorialize the events, assaults and attacks with email, formal medical attention, etc. It’s our own fault when we don’t do this and it places other students and staff at risk in the future by helping to hide the behavior from others, and the official record.
2. Minimizing event: Because the student was of elementary age, identified as Special Education and/or IEP, or because the teacher doesn’t want to appear to not be a ‘team player’ or being overly ‘dramatic’ etc..
3. Didn’t draw blood: Because the assault didn’t immediately seem to have visible result (immediate bruising, bleeding, swelling, etc).
4. Futility: It’s a manifestation of a diagnosis so there’s nothing that can be done (FALSE!) A sense that this has happened many times before and nothing is ever done about it. A belief, accurate or inaccurate, that the administration won’t do anything and hasn’t done anything.
5. It’s part of the job: A false belief that working within a public school institution and with children of all abilities and disabilities means sometimes you’re gonna get spit on, kicked, hit, slapped, stabbed, punched, choked and assaulted.
I will address each of these quickly:
1. Without documentation the 43rd assault could appear as the first if none of the previous ones were documented as they should have been! We need to amass documentation to support discipline and expulsion. We need documentation at manifest hearing for location to a facility suited for violent youth.
2. Very often injuries manifest hours, days, even weeks later. Would you expect your child to not report being assaulted for days or weeks? Infections and clots can be lifelong conditions having debilitating results or even being fatal. You owe it to your family, colleagues and student body to follow through with reporting and getting treatment, it’s the professional thing to do.
3. Concussions don’t show externally, blood clots working their way to the brain, groin, etc., don’t always appear suddenly. Emotional trauma of being attacked at work doesn’t show on the skin. Saliva may contain communicable diseases and pathogens that will appear weeks or months later after exposure. Clots resulting from blunt trauma are potentially fatal, etc. Get professional, medical attention with follow up!
4. How administration may choose to address violent students is their choice. Documentation of students’ assaulting, violent behaviors is something administration would need in order to take more stringent disciplinary steps leading to a possible expulsion.
5. We are not in a juvenile correctional facility – assaults are NOT to be tolerated. It is a criminal act beyond just school policies and rules! You can call the police and press charges regardless what actions the administration may take.
Read the information at this helpful link:
Here is an article published in the NEA regarding When Educators Are Assaulted