Case-control study of student-perpetrated physical violence against educators

Susan G Gerberich, Nancy M. Nachreiner, Andrew Ryan, Timothy R Church, Patricia M McGovern, Mindy S. Geisser, Steven J Mongin, Gavin D. Watt, Denise M. Feda, Starr K. Sage, Evette D. Pinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although prior research focused primarily on student-on-student school violence, educators are also at risk. This study was designed to identify risk factors for assaults against educators. Methods: Kindergarten-grade 12 educators (n = 26,000), randomly selected from a state license database, were screened for eligibility (6,469, eligible) by mailed questionnaire. Phase 1 (12-month recall) identified eligible assault cases (n = 372) and controls (n = 1,116), June 2004 to December 2005; phase 2 (case-control study; response, 78%) enabled identification of exposures through 1-month recall before student-perpetrated assaults (cases) and randomly selected months (controls). Directed acyclic graphs enabled confounder selection for multivariable logistic regression analyses; reweighting adjusted for potential biases. Results: Risks (odds ratios, 95% confidence intervals) increased for working in: Special Education (5.84; 4.07-8.39) and School Social Work (7.18; 2.72-18.91); kindergarten to second grade (1.81; 1.18-2.77); urban (1.95; 1.38-2.76) schools; schools with less than 50 (8.40; 3.12-22.63), 50-200 (3.67; 1.84-7.34), 201-500 (2.09; 1.32-3.29), and 501-1000 (1.94; 1.25-3.01) students versus more than 1000; schools with inadequate resources always/frequently (1.62; 1.05-2.48) versus infrequently/never; inadequate building safety always/frequently (4.48; 2.54-7.90) versus infrequently/never; and environments with physical barriers (1.50; 1.07-2.10). Risks decreased with routine locker searches (0.49; 0.29-0.85) and accessible exits (0.36; 0.17-0.74). Conclusions: Identification of assault risk factors provides a basis for further investigation and interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-332
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported, in part, by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services ( RO1-OH007816 ; T42-OH008434 ); the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, Center for Violence Prevention and Control and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, University of Minnesota . The authors are most appreciative of the Educator Advisory Consulting Team members for their commitment and important contributions to this study: Willarene Beasley, Charles Goodwin, Donald Hilts, Laura R. Langhoff, and Joseph P. Miller.

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Assault risk factors
  • Occupational violence
  • School violence
  • Student perpetrators
  • Violence against educators/teachers
  • Work-related


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