Teachers, Violence, and Workers’ Compensation

For some teachers, violence at the workplace is real possibility. The news is filled with more stories of teachers injured by the violent behavior of students or co-workers. In the age of social media, many of these violent acts against teachers are posted to social media accounts, even as they are occurring. Some teachers injured as a result of school violence may be entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation for their injuries.

School Violence a Real Risk for Teachers
As the country continues to deal with the aftermath of fatal school shootings, many instances of non-fatal school shootings have occurred. Other examples of school violence include student attacks on teachers, teachers harmed in the process of breaking up student-on-student violence, and violence committed against teachers by their co-workers.

Teachers who work with emotionally disturbed or special needs students face increased risks of injury, often due to inadequate staffing or improper supervision of medicine distribution. Reports of being struck, spit on, kicked, punched, and scratched are common occurrences. Injuries ranging from bruising and lacerations to broken bones and concussions often result from school violence. In extreme cases, the violence can lead to significant injuries, including traumatic brain injury, internal bleeding, and even death. Teachers are not the only professionals who suffer injuries resulting from school violence. Many special education paraprofessionals and teacher aides also suffer frequent injuries due to student violence.

Workers’ Compensation for Injured Teachers
Teachers who suffer injuries due to violence at their workplace may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ Compensation benefits can help pay for the costs of medical treatment and the loss of wages resulting from an injury sustained at the workplace. For teachers who need to take time off from work as a result of their injuries, Workers’ Compensation benefits can help prevent a financial nightmare.

Schools must provide a safe working environment for their staff. In cases where the violent behavior in students is foreseeable, such as in certain special education settings, staff may be injured if the school fails to provide appropriate training and necessary protective equipment such as safety restraints. Understaffing in classrooms is another dangerous, yet common hazard. Injured school workers are encouraged to report their injuries and document the violence that is occurring in school settings.

Teachers or paraprofessionals injured by school violence should contact an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer to discuss the next steps available.

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Mr. William L. Smith II

Licensed since 1984

Member at firm Chappell, Smith & Arden, P.A.

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