Huge increase in violence against teachers in Denmark

Students physically abusing teachers, says union

Teachers in Danish schools are increasingly being exposed to violence at the hands of their students.

A school in Kolding has been reported to the working environment authority Arbejdstilsynet after teachers were assaulted with stones and threatened with other violence. Some have even received death threats.

The number of cases of violence against teachers has increased from 66 cases in 2013 to 102 in 2015, according to Danmarks Lærerforening, the Danish teachers union – an increase of more than 50 percent.

Serious and traumatic
“This is very serious,” Anders Bondo Christensen, the head of  Danmarks Lærerforening, told Ekstra Bladet.

“Teachers need to be taken care of right away. There are many examples of teachers so traumatised by attacks by students that they leave teaching forever.”

Christensen said that more needs to be done than simply punishing the students who perpetrate violence.

“First, it is about having more time for each student,” he said.

“We also have inappropriate responses from parents, many of whom take the easy way out and simply defend their child rather than investigate ways we can jointly help students.”

Reported to the police
Students at St Michaels School, a private Catholic school in Kolding, have said coarse, sexually offensive things to teachers. One teacher has been beaten up by a student in the past year, while others reported feeling threatened and in danger, according to a report by Arbejdstilsynet.

Two seventh grade students at Borup School near Køge were reported by the school to police for violence towards their teacher.

READ MORE: Danish parents admit their children don’t respect teachers

The Danmarks Lærerforening figures only include cases of actual violence, and not psychological or verbal harassment from students. The union said there could also be many cases that go unreported.