While much has been made about the record-setting number of guns found on Charlotte-Mecklenburg School campuses this school year, and rightly so, there hasn’t been much attention, if any, on what teachers are saying is a dramatic increase in assaults on staff by students.
According to CMS data obtained by WBT Radio, there were 299 assaults on CMS personnel – teachers, substitutes, teacher assistants, cafeteria and custodial workers, and bus drivers – between the dates of Aug. 25, 2021, and April 17, 2022.
The total now exceeds 300 incidents of assault. That accounts for more than two assaults on staff per day.
At least one of these incidents resulted in a staff member being knocked unconscious. Charges were filed by the staff member.
However, that number high number does not include assaults by adults connected to students such as parents, relatives, or guardians.
The types of assaults range from punching, slapping, pushing, biting, kicking, and throwing objects. It could also include spitting and hair pulling, as well as other types.
This is one of the reasons why teachers have left in droves this year, regardless of age or how close they are to receiving their state pension. For many, it’s just not worth it.
“I don’t have fear, though I get a little nervous when groups of kids gather and start getting loud when I’m walking past them,” said one teacher that has taught in middle and high schools speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by CMS. “I know from past experiences that things can escalate quickly.”
Contrary to what many may believe, these episodes aren’t isolated to just high schools. Higher numbers are happening at middle schools and even elementary schools.
“I have seen the effects,” an elementary school teacher said. “Employees bitten and punched by lower grade students, and a black eye and bruises.”
Teachers say that, yes, even kids in kindergarten and first grade are becoming aggressive with adults. One teacher cited a 5-year-old kicking and biting her because the student didn’t like something they were told to do.
While the numbers are high, this isn’t just a Mecklenburg County thing. Teachers from surrounding counties, especially in Gaston, say violence from students is on the rise.
CMPD was asked two months ago for the number of students charged with assaulting CMS this year. CMPD has yet to produce any type of information. By all accounts, this number is high comparatively speaking, as well.
But what troubles the many teachers spoken to about this topic is that not a single one sees things getting better, but only worse.
“I think there’s a sense among some students that they are superior,” a high school teacher said. “They don’t have to take direction from anyone, and whomever gets in their way needs to be removed.”
-Brett Jensen, WBT Senior Reporter