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Bullying in teaching

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Title: Bullying in teaching  
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Subject: School bullying, Bullying, Workplace bullying, Bullying in academia, Teacher education
Collection: Education, Education Issues, School and Classroom Behaviour, School Bullying, Teaching, Workplace Bullying
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Bullying in teaching

This article concerns teacher-related bullying at school. For bullying involving lecturers in higher education, see Bullying in academia.

School teachers are commonly the subject of bullying but they are also sometimes the originators of bullying within a school environment.


  • Incidence 1
  • Complex dynamics 2
  • Staffroom bullying 3
  • Manifestations 4
  • Impacts 5
  • Notable incidents 6
  • In popular culture 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11


Comprehensive research carried out in the UK found that teaching was one of the occupations at highest risk from bullying:[1]

  • 15.5% of teachers stating they were currently being bullied
  • 35.4% saying they had been bullied over the last five years.

In another survey, the Economic and Social Research Institute found bullying to be more prevalent in schools (13.8pc) than other workplaces (7.9pc).[2]

Complex dynamics

Parsons identifies teacher bullying as often being part of a wider bullying culture within a school, with a complex web of dynamics such as:[3]

  • teachers may be bullied by: other teachers, students,[4] office staff, principals,[5] school governors and/or parents
  • teachers may bully: other teachers, students[6] and/or parents
  • bullying teachers may themselves get bullied by others in turn

Staffroom bullying

A common manifestation of teacher bullying is staffroom bullying where teachers are bullied by other teachers or school managers.[2][7][8][9][10][11]


Bullying of teachers can take many forms in order to harass and intimidate including:[12]

Bullies often exploit positions of seniority over the colleagues they are intimidating (see rankism) by:[12]

In some cases, teachers are ignored and isolated by colleagues in the staffroom or turned down for promotion or training courses (see silent treatment).[12]


The possible impacts of bullying on teachers include:

Notable incidents

In April 2012, Stuart Chaifetz, a father of an autistic boy, released a video on YouTube[14] providing evidence that his son was allegedly the subject of emotional abuse at the hands of his teacher and aide at Horace Mann Elementary School, in the Cherry Hill Public Schools district.[15] The evidence was secured when Chaifetz wired his son before sending him to school. When he listened to the audio recording, according to one news report, "Chaifetz says he caught his son's teachers gossiping, talking about alcohol and violently yelling at students. He took the audio to the Cherry Hill School District, where officials fired one of the teachers involved after hearing the tape. Chaifetz's son was relocated to a new school, where Chaifetz says he is doing well."[16][17] Chaifetz created a petition asking for legislation to allow the immediate firing of teachers who have bullied students. As of April 29, 2012, it had garnered over 149,000 signatures.[18]

In popular culture

Teachers being portrayed as bullies have made into popular culture, along with works with teachers being bullied by other teachers, students, and even the principal.

  • Films
    • Kids in America, a group of students with help from some teachers tries to stop their bully of a principal from becoming Superintendent, realizing the harm she can cause
    • The Nutty Professor, The School Bully bullies the Professor
    • Matilda, based on the novel of the same name, a student with psychokinesis helps her fellow students and a teacher to stop a cruel principal's reign of terror in the school.
    • The Breakfast Club, Principal Vernon is often seen as a bully to the students serving detention.
    • Mr. Woodcock, the film focuses on a man who is outraged that his former gym teacher, who bullied him and his classmates, is about to become his stepfather.
    • A Little Princess, the main character is the target of a corrupt principal at a boarding school.
    • The 400 Blows, Antoine Doinel is tormented by his insensitive teacher Guy Decomble.
  • Books
    • The Harry Potter series features bullying teachers, mainly Severus Snape and Dolores Umbridge.
    • British girls' comics often published bullying teachers and principals in serials and regular strips. Examples can be found in Wee Sue, The Girls of Liberty Lodge and The Four Friends at Spartan School, (Tammy), and Hard Times for Helen (Judy). Patsy and the Beast of Banchester (June) reversed the trend to show a teacher being bullied by toughs in her class.
  • TV
    • iCarly, there have been episodes, like "IHave My Principals", where Ms. Francine Briggs and Mr. Howard clearly bully students, including the main characters, one of whom, Sam, is a bully herself. Mr. Devlin and Lauren Ackerman also bullied the students.
    • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Mr. Sweeney, a science teacher, appears to be evil until the third season, where he appears to reform himself to the point of saving his students from Vice Principal Harvey Crubbs, who also bullies the students, mainly the main characters.
    • Glee, Coach Bieste is bullied by staff, including Sue Sylvester and students.
    • Home and Away, Casey Braxton is bullied by Mr Dave Townsend in Summer Bay High.
    • The Simpsons episode, Black Eyed, Please, Lisa is bullied by a substitute teacher, Miss Cantwell.
    • Grange Hill (season four, episode four) Christopher Stewart is bullied by P.E. teacher Mr. Hicks, to the point of physical injury.

See also


  1. ^ Hoel, H. & Cooper, C.L. Destructive Conflict and Bullying at Work, Sponsored by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation, Manchester School of Management, UMIST (2000)
  2. ^ a b c BULLYING in the staffroom is having a deeply traumatic effect on some teachers and their families, new research reveals. Irish Independent April 14, 2009
  3. ^ a b c Parsons L Bullied Teacher, Bullied Student: How to Recognize the Bullying Culture in Your School and What to Do About It (2005)
  4. ^ Terry, AA (1998). "Teachers as targets of bullying by their pupils : a study to investigate incidence".  
  5. ^ de Wet C The Reasons for and the Impact of Principal-on-Teacher Bullying on the Victims' Private and Professional Lives - Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, Vol 26 No 7 Pages 1450-1459 Oct 2010
  6. ^ McEvoy A Teachers Who Bully Students: Patterns and Policy Implications - Hamilton Fish Institute’s Persistently Safe Schools Conference, Philadelphia, September 11-14, 2005
  7. ^ a b c Field T Staffroom bullying The Times Educational Supplement (TES) Magazine 21 June 2002
  8. ^ Strickland S Bullies in the staff room The Independent 23 November 1995
  9. ^ Dean C Call to beat the staffroom bullies The Times Educational Supplement (TES) 16 April 2004
  10. ^ Being bullied in the staffroom BBC News 20 November 2006
  11. ^ McCall B Staffroom suffering Education Guardian, 20 November 2006
  12. ^ a b c Lepkowska D The shocking stories of teacher-on-teacher bullying Secondary Education News (SecEd) 11 Nov 2010
  13. ^ Munday K The Bullying of Teachers Through the Use of Formal Disciplinary Procedures 2003
  14. ^ "Teacher/Bully: How My Son Was Humiliated and Tormented by his Teacher and Aide", Stuart Chaifetz, video at YouTube, posted April 20, 2012
  15. ^ Horace Mann Elementary School website
  16. ^ NJ Father Records Teachers Bullying His Autistic Child,
  17. ^ website, 29 April 2012USA Today, reprinted at Cherry Hill Courier-Post"Verbal abuse of autistic student sparks calls for reform", Jim Walsh and Phil Dunn,
  18. ^ "To the New Jersey Legislature and Congress: Pass legislation so that teachers who bully children are immediately fired", petition at, access date 29 April 2012

Further reading


  • Blase, J; JR Blase (2003). Breaking the Silence: Overcoming the Problem of Principal Mistreatment of Teachers. Corwin Press.  
  • Hart, N.; J. Hurd (2000). Teacher stress: the consequences of harassment and bullying. Monitor.  
  • Horwitz, K. (2008). White Chalk Crime: The REAL Reason Schools Fail. Booksurge Llc.  
  • Schnall, R.S. (2009). When Teachers Talk: Principal Abuse of Teachers / The Untold Story. Goldenring Publishing.  

Academic papers

  • Allen, K.P. (Spring 2010). "Classroom Management, Bullying, and Teacher Practices". The Professional Educator 34 (1). 
  • Barnes CA A study investigating the opinions and experiences OF selected teachers regarding teacher bullying - 2007
  • Delfabbro, P.; Winefield T.; Trainor S.; Dollard M.; Anderson S.; Metzer J; Hammarstrom A. (2006). "Peer and teacher bullying/victimization of South Australian secondary school students: Prevalence and psychosocial profiles". British Journal of Educational Psychology 76 (1): Pages 71–90.  
  • Monsvold T, Bendixen M, Hagen R Exposure to teacher bullying in schools: A study of patients with personality disorders - Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 2011 Feb 25
  • Twemlow, SW;  

External links

  • "'"Teachers 'bullied at school.  
  • Teacher suicide rate doubles
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