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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Getting Injured Part of the "Job" or Not

Getting Injured Part of the "Job" or Not

Related Tags: Special Education
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Recently it seems that it is becoming more the expectation that special educators will be injured on the job, and furthermore we should not complain or file accident reports. I am CPI trained and have never had to use restraint until this year. I avoid it even to getting injured myself. However when injured I will file a report. Personally I think that the student and the teacher have equal rights to be safe in the classroom setting. If restraint has to be used repeatedly shouldn't a behavior manifestation meeting be held and LRE discussed? Are other special ed teachers getting hurt on the job?

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Songspinner's picture

[quote]Recently it seems that it is becoming more the expectation that special educators will be injured on the job, and furthermore we should not complain or file accident reports. I am CPI trained and have never had to use restraint until this year. I avoid it even to getting injured myself. However when injured I will file a report. Personally I think that the student and the teacher have equal rights to be safe in the classroom setting. If restraint has to be used repeatedly shouldn't a behavior manifestation meeting be held and LRE discussed? Are other special ed teachers getting hurt on the job?[/quote]

Songspinner's picture

Yes. other teachers are getting hurt. At the NW Special Ed and the Law Conference (2008), there was a presentation that almost stated that being hurt WAS part of the job. It was discouraging. I am an SLP so work in multiple districts, so hear about lots of incidents. Restraint is unavailable, and what I see (I'm not an administrator) is averse therapy plans in place almost always if restraint is being used. My thoughts are that the team should visit everything ASAP when those incidents occur. Good luck!

AU TX's picture
AU TX
Autism self-contained grades K-4

Yes, I agree with Songspinner, other teacher are getting hurt. Some on a daily basis. It is very disheartening to know that the districts do not care about the teachers. If one of us has been injured, no one cares, just don't dare to fill out an accident report or your life will be miserable. My district does not care if I am hurt as long as I do not report it or cost them anything. In fact if a student hurts me, I have been blamed for the actions because I apparently was not using the appropriate techniques. No wonder there is a rapid turn-over in special edcation teachers. They burn out from being on emotional and physical overload. I don't know about your district, but I do not make any more money than the teacher down the hall with the general ed kids who get expelled for hitting their teacher.

jo conrad's picture

when I worked a residential program we were trained all the time...if we were in a room that was over crowded with 1 on one staff and lots of desk and little ways to arrange we had to have our back to someone i was grabbed and shook and I was told it was my fault...what could you have done...my insurance and disability helped with the therapy...i was so humiliated by the whole experience i left this was after a serious of injuries one caused a surgery to my chest ...i was thrown against a wall and again blamed another a bad scratch left a scar and again blamed...over crowding a bad mix of kids yet we get blamed go figure!

T Abbott's picture

I teach P-4 students with severe behavior problems. Most have multiple diagnoses (Bipolar Disorder, PDD, MR, ODD, Psychotic Disorders, the like..). Most are in state custody, the result of poor foster placement or just plain being not wanted. I run the risk of injury everyday. These kids are quick, impulsive, and angry. I chose to do this work & I am willing to do whatever necessary to help these kids. I've learned that my response to their behaviors is what sets the stage for what follows. Teachers that work with children with violent behaviors need special training. Unfortunately, public schools are not equipped to deal with these kids and offer them little, if any therapy. This population of children is growing by leaps and bounds. This is how things will be, I'm afraid. Please remember,though, that there are no bad kids, just bad circumstances.

Guin Hilmes's picture

I was trained in PBR Positive Behavior Restraints class and this has helped me avoid getting injured in the classroom, but the amount of training that is given to professionals is very minimal in districts if not absent. I have had an aide that has been kicked, hit, bit, head butted and it seems that its all part of the job. I have called for assistance when I have a kid out of control and it will be an hour before someone will come and help. Needs to better plans in place to support educators that agree to take on these types of dicipline issues.

ameeuwsen's picture

I was injured last year when a student punched my in the nose, breaking it in 3 places. I have been through training every year of my 5 years at this school and my school is a behavior school, so we restrain students almost daily.
I took 3 days off of work to recover, but my days were not covered under workers' compensation because the physician's assistant that attended to me in the emergency room cleared me to work the next day. I was not aware of this until the adjuster contacted me and told me that if I wanted to dispute this, I would have to see a doctor that very day and have him/her sign a statement saying that I was not able to return to work. Needless to say, I didn't have the time to get in to see my doctor immediately, so the three days absence were taken out of my sick time. The injury was distressing enough without the hassle of trying to have my time off covered!

CDCteacher's picture

I work in a cdc classroom and have about 6 kids that are with me all day long. Myself and my assistant, as well as the contract aides that work one on one with the students are all trained in PCM which is professional crisis management. I have kids who are restrained alot and some I dont even need to use it on. Basically we are told that being injured is part of the job and we know that going into this field. I agree with everything being said on here, but at the same time its sad to know that school systems have people in charge that do not know anything about these kids or even how to handle them. I think that something needs to be done about the people in charge. Its sad when you know as a teacher that you dont have support and have to handle and deal with more than any other teacher at your school.

Tonya Essex's picture

A few years ago, I worked with some students that had behavior issues. I was injured by one of the students. I did fill out an accident report, and eventually the district decided to look for a better placement for the child. (This was truly better for the student and the family.) I felt it was important to file a report. I even filed a report with the police. If teachers don't speak out about the abuse we receive from students, nothing will change. When the district is forced to deal with these issues only then will they do something about it. Now, I will say I had a supervisor tell me not to do it. I just didn't care; sure it was going to make more work for the supervisor. It may have even made her look bad, but it was the right thing to do for the student and myself.

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