Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.

Improving safety in schools

The numbers for assaults on teachers in Allegheny County schools are rising. In the 2014-2015 school year, there were 31 aggravated assaults with teachers as the victims. Another 140 simple assaults against teachers were reported.

The reasons the students engage in this behavior vary, with some having undiagnosed behavioral problems or special needs, seeing or experiencing violence at home. Some teachers may not be able to control their classes.

According to one superintendent, a lack of engagement by parents could be causing certain children to be unprepared socially for school. He also believes that television and video games play a role, with children frequently witnessing obscenities, vulgarity and violence.

Several teachers have stories about being assaulted by students, either outright or when they were attempting to break up a fight with another student. One female teacher, 51, was assaulted twice in two years. Both times, she was trying to break up a fight. The first incident caused her to miss four weeks of school with a shoulder injury and concussion. When the next incident occurred, she decided to take an early retirement due to disability.

Teachers, just like other workers, have a right to be safe in the workplace. Alternative schools have been established to work with students who have shown behavioral issues. Early intervention is being used to recognize which students might have problems and getting help for them before they act out physically.

Workers' compensation benefits are available to these employees and the types of injuries or illnesses can really vary. If you have been injured while working as an educator, and your claim was denied, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you prepare and file and appeal.

Source: triblive.com, "Classrooms in crisis: Violence plagues schools," Elizabeth Behrman, Jan. 10, 2016

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