Study: 76% of Teachers Experience Verbal Confrontations

Brookfield, Wisc.

A majority of K-12 school teachers believe their classrooms are more prone to violence than they were five years ago, according to a study released Nov. 17 by the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI).

More than 55 percent of the teachers surveyed said their schools are more likely to experience disruptive behavior, with 76 percent experiencing verbal confrontations, 65 percent experiencing school fights and 36 percent witnessing abuse of a staff member in the past year.

“This temperature check on violence in American schools reveals that a significant majority of teachers believe that improved training in diffusing and de-escalating situations will help them prevent and safely deal with crisis situations,” said Tony Jace, CPI’s CEO. Over two-thirds of teachers surveyed said they would like to be better prepared to deal with incidents that may occur.  “National, state and local policy-makers should take note of the need to provide our school teaching staff with the resources to address situations that might arise,” Jace added.

  General education teachers surveyed reported they lag behind special education teachers in receiving staff training in dealing with potential classroom violence (43 percent vs. 80 percent).  Correspondingly, a significant majority (82 percent) of special education teachers say they feel comfortable that their training equips them to deal with disruptive behavior.

“While the survey points to escalating rates of violence in American schools, the encouraging news is teachers’ confidence in making critical decisions in the chaotic moments of crisis situations improve as they receive ongoing skills based training,” said Judith Schubert, president of CPI. “Despite tightly stretched school budgets, quality in-service training to build competencies in preventing and safely diffusing crisis situations is an imperative in today’s school environment.”

Key Facts from the Survey

  • 28 percent of general education teachers have had students with weapons present in their school in the last year. 
  • 34 percent of teachers cited “fear of litigation” as a factor that has impacted schools’ progress in reducing or preventing aggressive incidents.
  • Support from school administration and adequate classroom staffing were cited as the two most effective steps schools can take to address aggressive student behavior.

The full report can be found at

To read the full press release, click here.

Tagged with: Workplace Violence
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