“It’s the best-kept worst secret because you just found out about it. It is a huge ordeal. It is bigger than anyone knows,” said Shawna Mott-Wright with the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association.
It's a secret that many teachers are hesitant to talk about—what happens when children get violent? “We just don’t talk about it,” said Mott-Wright. “It’s upsetting because we really are like domestic abuse victims.”
“There were a few times when I wasn’t sure if I was safe. [But] you have to be ready to go into that atmosphere,” said State Representative John Waldron. Waldron wasn’t hurt when he was teaching, but he said it’s not hard to find a teacher who has been. “I know someone who was attacked by an elementary school student while she was pregnant a few weeks before she gave birth to her child,” said Waldron. ...
“We’re talking about intentionally assaulting you, with the intent to hurt,” said Mott-Wright. Mott-Wright said that even though the number of physical attacks has gone down the last few years, it isn’t an accurate picture because districts self-report, and many teachers don’t want to come forward. “In our office, it’s gone up. Not a multiplication problem but an exponential problem. We have been living with this, with our teachers, over three weeks,” said Mott-Wright.