When a 16-year-old student slammed a metal trash can onto Philip Raimondo’s head, it did more than break open the history teacher’s scalp, knock him out and send him bleeding to the floor.
“It changed my whole world,” Raimondo said about the attack in the school where he taught for 22 years.
Experts say the phenomenon of student-on-teacher violence is too often ignored.
“There’s some reluctance to think that the teaching profession can be unsafe,” said Dr. Dorothy Espelage of the University of Illinois.
The educational psychology professor recently headed a national task force on classroom violence directed at teachers. The group found that little has been done to try to understand or prevent such incidents despite the potential implications on teacher retention and student performance, among other things.
But the October deaths, one day apart, of Nevada middle school math teacher Michael Landsberry, who was shot on a basketball court by a suicidal 12-year-old, and Massachusetts high school math teacher Colleen Ritzer, who authorities said was attacked by a 14-year-old student inside a school bathroom, have brought the issue to the forefront. <Read more.>