School Violence Spreads Across the Nation

John Ransom | May 11, 2023

(The Lion) — A teacher who was previously assaulted at school was pepper sprayed by a student in Tennessee, part of a growing trend of violence in public schools.

The pepper spray assault happened after the Nashville teacher refused to return a cell phone to the student, said Fox News.

A video of the incident appeared on Reddit and has racked up over 1 million views.

In a separate incident, which happened two months ago, the teacher was allegedly “decked” with a hit to the face. 

The incidents are not isolated, as schools across the nation are reporting a similar rise in violence.

It’s gotten so bad that in Pittsburgh the public school system has hired a new position, director of violence prevention, to address the issue.

In Baltimore, one student journalist, 16 year-old Lillian Green, penned an open letter to the city about the problems.

“The rising number of violence within city public schools has been unfathomable,” Green said, reading from her letter to local WBAL TV. “If you’re a student, you fear walking through your building. And, if you’re a parent, you wonder if your child will be the next name on the evening news.”

In December, The Lion reported that the Akron school system in Ohio was beset by student fights, stabbings and even a bomb threat.

Within the last month, students or former students have killed administrators, teachers and students in both Denver and in Virginia.

And in April, a Las Vegas teen pled guilty to attempted murder and sexual assault of a teacher.  

Crime statistics nationwide generally lag by several years, but in New York City, where they keep real time data on school crimes, the statistics show a recent rise in crimes at school, reports the New York Post.

Since schools have opened after the pandemic, assault and sex offenses spiked and weapon recoveries in schools were up 80%. 

“I’m not going to attribute this epidemic [of violence] to the COVID pandemic and lockdown,” Mona Davids, a high school parent and head of the NYC School Safety Coalition, told the Post.

“This was happening even before that. It started years before, because even years ago I was testifying at the City Council and also New York State hearings about weapons confiscated in schools and all of this stuff. But coming out of the lockdowns and then the enactment of these criminal justice reforms, it just exploded.”

Part of the criminal justice reforms, it seems, is taking an “equity” approach to discipline at schools, where kids are coddled with no real consequences for their actions.

In the Denver shooting, for example, the student-perpetrator was seen previously with a gun in school but was inexplicably allowed to return to school day after day.

“That is the biggest red flag there,” said Wayne Mason, one of the administrators shot by the student, “and then he was allowed back into the school.”

In the Nashville pepper-spray incident, the district isn’t being specific about what kind of discipline the student faces, citing FERPA privacy protections. 

“Due to FERPA’s student privacy protections, I’m not able to publicly share the specific disciplinary consequences for a student,” said a statement by the district to Fox News.