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Tracking assaults on teachers in Indiana classrooms

16-year-old charged with battery of 75-year-old substitute teacher

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hoosiers don’t know how many teachers are attacked by students in Indiana classrooms on a yearly basis because the state government hasn’t kept records of the incidents.

A recent example of a 75-year-old substitute teacher being attacked at Perry Meridian High School brought the lack of records to the forefront again for the Indiana State Teachers Association.

“The pictures were devastating, and it’s awful to hear that something like that would happen to any staff member. The severity of this was surprising,” said Keith Gambill, president of the association.

The association says attacks on teachers by students have become more commonplace in the last few years. “We’re very concerned, because we have seen an uptick as schools have come back post-COVID,” Gambill said.

The 2023-2024 school year is the first that the Indiana Department of Education will be collect data from school districts about assaults on teachers.

The Indiana Department of Education tracks the total number of students arrested each year and what they were arrested for. But, the department doesn’t track whether or not a student or teacher was the victim.

In the current school year, if a teacher is injured by a student, requiring the teacher to miss a day of school or file for workers’ compensation claim, the Department of Education will collect that information. The department then is required to report those numbers at the end of the year.

The first report is scheduled to be released in July.

Gambill said, “We’ll have a better understanding of the number of incidents that occur like this and the severity, and we’ll be able to learn is what we saw in this case emblematic of what is happening across the state, or is this more of an outlier.”

I-Team 8 will follow the release of that report to see how bad the problem is and if the report sparks law makers to act.