The perception of schools as havens of safety and learning has become more nuanced in recent years. With the increase in violence, bullying, and other safety hazards, teachers are facing heightened safety concerns in their workplaces. As WorldSafe, we take a closer look at these issues, advocating for improved protection measures for our educators.
The Growing Threat Landscape
Schools have traditionally been viewed as safe environments, shielded from many external dangers. However, recent statistics paint a different picture. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2017–18 school year, 46% of public schools reported one or more threats of physical attack against teachers, an alarming 10% increase from the previous academic year (1).
The threats are not just physical. Teachers also face psychological and emotional hazards, including stress, bullying, and harassment. A survey by the American Federation of Teachers found that 58% of teachers described their mental health as "not good" for seven or more of the past 30 days. This rate was up from 34% just two years prior (2).
Implications for Teacher Retention
Beyond the immediate impact on the physical and mental well-being of educators, these rising safety concerns also pose a serious threat to teacher retention. According to a report by the Learning Policy Institute, workplace conditions, including safety, significantly influence teacher turnover (3). The associated costs of recruiting, hiring, and training new teachers are considerable, not to mention the disruption in learning continuity for students.
The Call to Action
It is clear that schools must prioritize enhancing teacher safety to ensure a conducive learning environment. Key steps include comprehensive risk assessments, the adoption of incident management systems like those offered by our partner Report It, which enable discreet and swift reporting of safety concerns, and creating a culture of safety where teachers feel supported and protected.
Where WorldSafe comes in
WorldSafe is committed to helping schools address these mounting safety concerns. We believe that our teachers, who shape the future generation, deserve a safe and secure workplace. By equipping schools with the right tools and strategies, we can ensure that teachers feel safe, supported, and valued, which ultimately benefits not only the educators themselves but also the students they inspire.
Are you ready for a free threat assessment to find out how you can improve teacher safety at your school? Get started today here.
- National Center for Education Statistics (2019). Indicators of School Crime and Safety.
- American Federation of Teachers (2017). Quality of Worklife Survey.
- Learning Policy Institute (2016). Solving the Teacher Shortage: How to Attract and Retain Excellent Educators.