When teachers are the bully's target
Researchers said teachers often are victimized by students, kids' parents or colleagues, but many don't report the incidents.
March 11th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

When teachers are the bully's target

By Stephanie Goldberg, CNN

(CNN) Several years ago, Brendesha Tynes was taken aback when she received an e-mail from one of her former students.

The note directed her to a Facebook event for an all-night bar crawl an event with which Tynes, an assistant professor at the time, had nothing to do. But it featured an offensive image and listed Tynes as the host; another former student had set it up.

As an educator and researcher, Tynes had spent years looking into cyberbullying. Now, she was a victim.

Tynes said she was prepared to tackle the eye rolls and sharp tongues that can come with molding young minds, but being publicly humiliated by a student wasn’t in her lesson plan.

Reports from teachers say her case isn’t an anomaly. A 2011 study, "Understanding and Preventing Violence Directed Against Teachers," reported 80% of about 3,000 K-12 teachers surveyed felt victimized by students, students’ parents or colleagues in the past year.

Teachers reported that students were most often behind the verbal intimidation, obscene gestures, cyberbullying, physical offenses, theft or damage to personal property.

But few teachers or researchers are talking about it.

“People are very eager to talk about (teacher victimization) amongst co-workers and amongst friends, but they’re very hesitant to report it to authorities or to the media,” Tynes said. “People want to protect their students, even though they’re being victimized by them, and they’re worried about the reputations of the schools they work at.”

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Filed under: Bullying • Parents • Students • Teachers