An Investigation of Violence against Teachers in Turkey

By Ozdemir, Soner Mehmet | Journal of Instructional Psychology, March 2012 | Go to article overview

An Investigation of Violence against Teachers in Turkey


Ozdemir, Soner Mehmet, Journal of Instructional Psychology


This study seeks to investigate violence against teachers. A total of 902 teachers working at the elementary schools and at secondary schools located in the center of Kirikkale, Turkey were enrolled in the study. Data were gathered by an instrument designed by the researcher and aiming to measure violence against teachers. Analyses included descriptive statistics and the Chi-Square Test of Independence. The results of the study revealed that teachers often experienced emotional (24.1%), followed by verbal (14.7%), physical (6.3%) and sexual (4.6%) violence. The results also indicated that male teachers were exposed to physical violence while female teachers were mostly facing verbal and emotional violence. Besides, it has been found that secondary school teachers were experienced violence acts more than elementary school teachers do.

Key Words: Violence, elementary and secondary students, violence against teachers

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Today violence has turned into a serious social problem and expanded to affect educational institutions and staff, too. In a general sense, violence may be defined as a forceful act, or behaviors such as assault, physical force, physical or psychological abuse or torture, hitting or injury (Koknel, 1996). According to the definition by the World Health Organization (WHO), violence is "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation" (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi & Lozano, 2002). Violence should not be seen as mere acts causing physical injury or death. Indeed, violence may also leave permanent psychological damages in individuals or the society. Studied from a formal perspective, violence is associated with many physical, emotional-psychological, verbal, sexual and economic behaviors (Atman, 2003).

School Violence

Aggressive behavior and violence in schools affect the educational efforts negatively. It also jeopardize the students' need of a safe learning place (Ogulmus, 1995). Aggressive behaviors and violence in and around the schools not only affect students' and school staff's feeling of being safe but also affects the quality of educational outcomes. Violence acts in schools, especially in high schools, have become one of the crucial social problems during last decades. Newspapers and TV programs report hundreds of violent acts which affect both students and teachers every academic year. Amsler and Sadella (1987) noted that while the most common discipline problems of fifty years ago were running in halls, talking out of turn, and chewing gum, today's problems include physical and verbal violence, incivility, and in some schools, drug abuse, robbery, assault and murder. As a result, many school teachers spend an inordinate amount of time and energy managing classroom conflicts (As cited in Johnson and Johnson, 1995). According to Astor and Meyer (2001), school violence covers a wide array of intentional or reckless physical and psychological behaviors, which range from murder, the presence of weapons, sexual harassment, school fighting, bullying, verbal threats and intimidation, corporal punishment, gang violence, rape, hate crimes, vandalism, verbal or physical harassment on the way to and from school and dating violence.

Serious acts of school violence are endemic throughout the world. This is evident from news reports which appear in the print media, as well as studies conducted by various institutions and researchers .According to the findings of these studies (Chen& Astor, 2009; Cinkir & Kepenekci, 2003; Egitim-Sen, 2006; Kapici, 2004; Nolle, Guerino & Dinkes, 2007; Turk-Egitim Sen, 2004; Yavuzer, Gundogdu & Dikici, 2009; Zeira, Astor & Benbenishty, 2003), examples of the serious acts of violence experienced in and around schools by teachers and school staff were "armed or unarmed threats, homicide, injuries, jostling, swearing or using bad words, teasing, name-calling, excluding from the group, racist-ethnic tensions, theft of personal belongings, sexual harassment, carrying sharp objects, and alcohol and substance use". …

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