School security expert weighs in after recent altercations between teachers and students
MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- Two incidents in the span of a month-- of teachers involved in physical altercations with students:
In February, a Jimtown High School teacher slapped a student in the face; he is currently charged with battery.
Just this week-- a Twin Branch Elementary school teacher was accused of grabbing and even shoving a twelve-year old student, according to Mishawaka Police. In this incident, the student was not injured, though police are still investigating.
According to Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services-- events like this may become more common-- as teachers deal with increased stress.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing people under stress already, and when they get into stressful situations, they’re making bad choices," Trump said. “Coming out of a pandemic context, with all the stressors, can include questionable actions not only by kids, but also adults.”
He said that teachers need to learn mitigation tactics-- no matter how much experience they have-- to prevent further unfortunate events.
“Far too often we are not using de-escalation training for teachers and support staff, so that when they deal with an aggressive student—someone that is verbally threatening and escalating—they have the tools as adults to use their words, their physical space and their body language to de-escalate kids and bring them down, rather than to join them in the escalation, when the end result is going to be bad for everyone," said Trump.
He added that this training is not often prioritized for educators-- as schools focus on improving test scores, and more recently, on COVID safety. He argued that this type of training is equally as important and that schools should work in this training with their teachers before an incident occurs."
“We want to see school safety as part of the school’s culture, when there’s not a crisis or a high-profile incident in the news," he said. "When that training is built in to the overall agenda of the school staff at professional development days, at faculty meetings—even if it’s a matter of taking a few minutes at every faculty meeting.”
Trump argued that the school's administration needs to make school safety training a priority among all the staff for it to be truly effective.