GREENSBORO, N.C. — When you think of dangerous jobs, your first thoughts are probably law enforcement, store clerk or construction. What about teaching children? Believe it or not, 2 Wants To Know uncovered some shocking statistics and proof from inside Triad schools of school employees being assaulted.
2WTK obtained video from the 2018-2019 school year of a student of a principal at Andrews High School being punched. Andrews is located in High Point.
There's also a video clip on Facebook from the Spring of 2019 that appears to show a Page High teacher being tossed around. And the infamous video of a Danville bus driver dragged by her while on the bus.
“Right now our school system is lacking in safety," said Marc Ridgill, a school resource officer at Grimsley High School for 8 years. Now retired, he’s still troubled by what he saw.
“Teachers with injured backs, we’ve had teachers be bloodied. One teacher had a rib broken where he was knocked to the floor and kicked in the ribs," Ridgill said.
Don’t just have to take his word for it, 2 Wants To Know uncovered documented proof of the problem in Triad schools.
Across the viewing area, there are 235 assaults on staff reported in one school year. That means just about every school day a staff member somewhere in our area is under attack.
[An assault is defined by the state as a student’s “intentional offer or attempt by force or violence to do injury to a school official, employee, or volunteer.”]
Local school workers we’ve talked with are afraid to share their story, but across the country others are coming forward:
- “Water bottles throw at me, bricks thrown towards me. Been kicked, bitten. My bra has been exposed.”
- “I have been nearly stabbed.”
- “I’ve had my breast grabbed so violently it left bruises. Bodies rubbed against me in a sexual nature. I‘ve had my rotator cuff tore.”
The President of the North Carolina Association of Educators, Mark Jewell, says it's rare for a teacher to get seriously injured. But when it happens, they are normally trying to break up a fight.
“They're going to do that to make sure our kids are kept safe," said Jewell.
This is a nationwide problem, and the triad is not immune to the violence.
- 83 assaults in Guilford County Schools
- 69 in Winston-Salem Forsyth County School.
Winston-Salem Forsyth County School District declined our interview request.
Guilford County Schools' leaders had plenty to say.
"We want everyone to come to school to feel joyful at school so you enjoy your work. If you enjoy your work, you give your very best. You can’t provide joy if you’re not safe," said Doctor Wanda Legrand with GCS.
To help the district has started a two types of training: first on conflict resolution.
“Our teachers have been given guidance as far as de-escalating, knowing when to engage in a conversation and when not to engage. When to ask for help," Legrand said. "So if an incident is happening in a building, you know who to call in your building that can respond and help protect you.”
And they want to use training called Social-Emotional Learning to help teachers build better relationships with students.
“When you care about a person, you’re less likely to want to harm them. So when a student knows that a teacher cares about them, they are less likely to do harm to them," Legrand said.
Guilford County is only in its second year of this training, so it’s too early to tell how well it’s working. But district leaders hope they can tackle a major problem hitting home in your child’s school.
Search Piedmont Triad Schools to see Data on Reported Assaults From The 2017-2018 School Year (The Most Recent Information Made Public)
Video of the incident at Andrews High School
Video of School bus driver incident in Danville