Violence against Teachers in Jordanian Schools
European Scientific Journal April 2016 edition vol.12
Violence against Teachers in Jordanian Schools
Dr. Mohammad Sayel Alzyoud 0
0 Associate Professor of Educational Studies, Department of Educational Administration and Foundations, Faculty of Educational Sciences, The University of Jordan , Amman , Jordan. Dr. Ali Salem Al-Ali Associate Professor of Linguistics, Department of European Languages, Faculty of Foreign Languages, The University of Jordan , Amman , Jordan Dr. Atif O. Bin Tareef Associate Professor of Educational Administration, Department of Educational Administration and Foundations, Faculty of Educational Sciences, The University of Jordan , Amman , Jordan
This aim of this study is to examine the reasons for violence against teachers in Jordan from the perspective of high school students. The study followed a qualitative research approach by interviewing (50) students from grade twelve. Students were recruited in this study via the convenience sampling approach. The study revealed that teachers, school administration, school environment, media, and family conditions, were the major causes of student's violence against teachers. Teachers who experienced violence from students are the cause of this violence due to their actions and practices. Teachers are often exhausted, dispassionate, and overloaded with teaching and administrative duties. As a result, these duties sometimes hinder them not to communicate with students nicely or help students in solving their problems. Other times, students are violent against teachers because some teachers have low academic and educational performances. They are unable to offer counselling and psychological support to students from certain backgrounds. Subsequently, some students lack proper morals and discipline. School administrators are to be held responsible for the violence against teachers because they are unable to meet the students' needs.
Jordan; parents; schools; teachers; violence
Jordan is one of the Middle East countries which are considered to be
safe and secure. Hence, this was despite the country’s lack of national
resources. In the last twenty years, there have been so many changes in the
characteristics of Jordanian society at the individual and collective levels in
various aspects of life. Due to globalization, Jordan’s society changed from a
conservative, classical, and tribal society to an open society (Alzyoud, 2009).
Many negative features of this change became part of Jordanian society.
Thus, these features include social violence, the phenomena of pride and
showing off among Jordanians, the presence of new consumer values, the
dominance of a culture of consumption, and spending more on luxuries
rather than on the basic needs of life.
The phenomenon of violence affects the stability of the society, and
is one of the main challenges to the public and authorities. Subsequently,
violence occurs as a result of the recent huge social and cultural changes
imposed by internal and external factors. For instance, Jordan has received
several massive waves of refugees due to the Palestinian issue since 1948,
the first Gulf War in 1991, the collapse of the Iraqi regime in 2004, the
conflict in Syria since 2011, and the Libyan and Yemeni crises, resulting to
more than four million people been added to the teaming population in
Jordan. However, these refugees were from different social and cultural
backgrounds that negatively affected the stability of the Jordanian society
and natural development. Furthermore, with Jordan’s limited natural
rescores, weak economy, globalization, social media, and full access to
different online sources, violence has increased rapidly. In addition, the issue
of violence issue is traceable to the different social, cultural, economic, and
political changes that affected Jordanian society.
Violence is not limited to social or family organizations, it is mixed.
Hence, it includes tribal violence, collective violence, and bullying
(DAMRA & GHBARI, 2014). The violence that affects Jordanian society is
divided into two types: physical, emotional, or verbal violence that affects
human personalities and violence that affects property and belongings.
Furthermore, violent crime rate has increased rapidly over the past few years,
strongly affecting human lives, properties, and belongings.
Violence, in fact, is a great problem that has existed since mankind
came into existence. Therefore, since 1990, violence has increased in both
developed and developing countries and has become a major public health
problem (Gokler, Arslantas, & Unsal, 2014). Violence and conflict takes
place in many countries, issuing from inside society based on cultural,
political, social, ethnical, or religious reasons or from outside society due to
politics, security, cultural (in) tolerance, or economics (Al-Zyoud, Morgan,
& Brown, 2013).
As a matter of fact, violence is a multifaceted matter associated with
individual thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours. Therefore, several factors can
influence the occurrence or non-occurrence of violence, which includes
biological, psychological, social, cultural, economic, and political factors
Violence is one of the main problems of contemporary societies.
Social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors play a role in the
formation of violence. Violence exists as an instinctive behaviour and is
believed to arise from environmental factors (Tutkun & Harman, 2011). In
England and Wales, 23 percent of women and 15 percent of men aged 16 to
59 were reported to have been assaulted by a current or former partner at
some point in their lives (Ghate, 2000).
Violence is a social problem that emerges for many reasons. Violence
is practiced by people who have limited knowledge, communication skills,
understanding, tolerance, respect, and peaceful thinking. Violence is
practised mostly against certain groups in societies, specifically children,
women, and by some professionals, like teachers, nurses, and doctors.
Violence in schools has increased in all countries (Tutkun & Harman,
2011). School violence is something that takes place at school and in other
places connected with school life (Kowzan, 2009). Therefore, violence in the
school is a reflection of violence in the society (ALAIN, 2000).
Violence in schools is a challenging problem for educational systems,
societies, and governments. Violence in schools includes: insults; threats;
aggression against teachers and the administrative staff by pupils, parents,
and friends of pupils; fistfights among youth; throwing stones, teargas bombs
or even Molotov cocktails; and vandalism against the institution (classroom
equipment) or against teachers (cars, theft, rackets, drugs, and alas, murder).
The list is long but not exhaustive, and it only provides headlines for a media
that is hungry for sensationalism (ALAIN, 2000).
School violence has emerged as a significant public health crisis that
warrants immediate attention. Nationally, 11% of high school students report
being in a fight, 8% report being threatened or injured with a weapon on
school property, and 6% report carrying a weapon on school property in the
past 30 days (McMAHON et al., 2014).
Consequently, a lot has been stated about bullying behaviour. Bullies
have aggressive personalities and receive attention because of their violent
behaviour. They come from troubled family situations. Thus, they have
parents who use erratic and harsh disciplinary methods, which often escalate
to physical abuse (Tas, 1996). Aggressive behaviour in humans is related to a
number of physiological, psychological, familial, and cultural factors as well
as the child’s specific learning conditions (Huesmann, Eron, & Klein, 1983).
According to a national school crime survey, 7 percent of U.S.
primary and secondary school teachers were threatened with injury, while 3
percent were physically attacked by a student from their own school between
2003 and 2004 (CHEN & ASTOR, 2009). Other members of the school’s
staff were also potential victims; for example, another U.S. national study
showed that over 75% of physical assaults or threats against school social
workers were perpetrated by students (ibid).
In Chinese culture, teachers are highly revered professionals. Even
now, teachers in Taiwan enjoy relatively higher prestige and job satisfaction
than their international counterparts. Thus, students in Taiwan are expected
to bow to their teachers as a mark of respect. Nevertheless, one study
reported that 65.5 percent of surveyed junior high school teachers had been
verbally assaulted by their students (ibid).
Consequently, student violence against teachers in Taiwan is a
serious problem that requires the immediate attention of school
administrators. However, there is no clear intervention program regarding
student violence against teachers in Taiwan. These findings, based on
representative data with all students from 4th to 12th grade in Taiwan,
provide important evidence that can be used to establish policy on the
prevention of student-on-teacher violence. Potential intervention programs in
Taiwan may need to target male junior high school students (CHEN &
Due to the fact that violence is one of the social issues that affect
many Jordanian organizations, educational institutions are among the main
sectors that have witnessed many incidences of violence over the past ten
years. The public education system is established, supervised, and financed
by the government. Thus, it includes the academic and vocational education
branches, and the educational stages between class one (age six years) and
class 12 (age 18 years) under the supervision of the Ministry of Education
(MOE). The MOE is responsible for achieving the general objectives of
education and supervising the educational organisations in Jordan. This is
accomplished through educational legislation in ensuring high standards of
education and educational facilities (AI-Zyoud, 2001). The MOE, however,
has not implemented clear steps or actions to deal with the violence issue,
either educationally or legally. As a result, schools and universities have
been strongly involved in hundreds of violent incidents due to social and
personal reasons. School violence may be defined as a forceful act or
behaviour, such as assault, physical force, physical or psychological abuse or
torture, hitting, or injury (Özdemir, 2012). School violence is "the intentional
use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another
person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high
likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment,
or deprivation" (ibid).
Violence in schools and universities can be defined procedurally as a
pattern of offensive or compulsive behaviours, which include physical and
psychological abuse of peers or teachers and the destruction of schools or
university’s property. However, school or university’s student violence has
emerged as a social and criminal problem in Jordanian society and
universities (DAMRA & GHBARI, 2014).
There have been relatively few studies on students’ reports on why
they perpetrate violence against school teachers (CHEN & ASTOR, 2009).
Majority of research has focused on the impact of student-on-student
violence, whereas the impact of student-on-teacher violence has been
relatively neglected (Galand, Lecocq, & Philippot, 2007). Thus, this was
despite its potentially serious consequences, e.g., teacher burnout and
deteriorated teacher–student relationships (Wilson, Douglas, & Lyon, 2011).
Teachers are the significant adults that provide students with
knowledge and a safe environment for social and psychological
development. Teachers are expected to be role models for school children
and to be responsible for protecting students from harm as well as promoting
student well-being (CHEN & ASTOR, 2009). In return, students and parents
are expected to give their full support to teachers, specifically by showing
great respect to them and collaborating with them. However, the current
situation is not acceptable in many schools due to the violence trend that
occupies the educational scene. Violence negatively impacts teachers’
mental health and teaching quality (Lyon & Douglas, 1999; CHEN &
ASTOR, 2009). Violence in the Jordanian schools reached 100 incidents in
2015 (Mashaah, 2016).
In a national study in Taiwan with a sample that was representative of
the entire student population from the 4th through 12th grades in Taiwanese
schools, 30.1 percent of students reported being involved in, at least, one
aggressive behaviour against teachers during the preceding twelve months
(CHEN & ASTOR, 2009).Violence in schools appeared in many forms.
Harassment was the most frequent form of victimization. This was followed
by property offenses and physical offenses. Students were the most common
perpetrators of violence, but not the only perpetrators. Also, parents and
colleagues also committed a substantial number of offenses. In addition,
important trends in teacher victimization were found in terms of gender,
race/ethnicity, and community setting. Thus, this sheds light on how
teachers’ experiences in schools vary (McMAHON et al., 2014). Physical
punishment and school violence have a causal relationship in that the use of
physical punishment increases the probability of violence in schools (Metin
et al., 2014).
Traditionally, Jordanian society gave teachers great value for their
professional and ethical role. Jordanians generally had great respect and
appreciation for teachers. Therefore, violence against teachers is considered
to be completely unacceptable. Unfortunately, this situation no longer exists
due to the lack of proper awareness of the support that teachers need in their
profession. The lack of support from the official authorities has negatively
affected the ideal image of teachers that the public had about them. In
addition, irresponsible teachers have also damaged the image of teachers in
Teacher professionalism is reflected when a society vests authority in
teachers who accept responsibility for rendering particular expertise and
service. Teacher professionalism, however, involves more than teaching
subjects or implementing instructional methods and activities. Thus, it also
encompasses the deeper understanding that teachers possess about how
classrooms and schools are structured and why. Furthermore, it also entails
how teaching and learning might be structured differently to better meet the
needs of students and the society (Jesús et al., 2009).
The role of teachers is vital and essential. Teachers’ behaviours are
seen as role modelling and their positive behaviours will contribute
significantly to the child’s development (Metin et al., 2014).With the full
understanding of the role of teachers towards future generations, violence
against teachers has recently reached unacceptable levels. Therefore, this
study tried to determine the reasons for student-on-teacher violence.
Violence against teachers is one of the challenging problems for the
Jordanian educational system and Jordanian society. Teachers, parents,
experts, the Teachers’ Union, media, and the MOE have considered this
issue to be a real threat to the dignity, respect, and the value of education in
the Jordanian society. The number of violent cases against teachers reached
100 cases in 2015. Thus, these included assault, physical force, physical or
psychological abuse, hitting, injury, and threatened deprivation.
Subsequently, this study tried to answer the following question: what
are the reasons for students’ violence against teachers in the Jordanian public
schools, according to Jordanian high school students?
This study followed the qualitative approach by conducting
interviews with the subjects of the study. Therefore, the strength of a
qualitative research is its ability to provide complex textual descriptions of
how people experience a given research issue. Qualitative research provides
information about the “human” side of an issue – i.e., the often contradictory
behaviours, beliefs, opinions, emotions, and relationships of individuals.
Qualitative methods are also effective in identifying intangible factors, such
as social norms, socioeconomic status, gender roles, ethnicity, and religion,
whose role in the research issue may not be readily apparent (FAMILY
HEALTH INTERNATIONAL, 2016).
In addition, the study adopted the qualitative research approach to
reach a deep understanding of the reasons for violence against teachers from
the perspective of high school students.
The study followed the convenience sampling approach. This
approach fits the nature of the study. Convenience (or opportunistic)
sampling is a technique that uses an open period of recruitment that
continues until a set number of subjects, events, or institutions are enrolled.
Here, selection was based on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, this
approach is used in studies that consider predefined populations (Health,
2016). Convenience sampling includes choosing the nearest individuals to
serve as respondents and continuing that process until the required sample
size has been obtained (Alzyoud, 2001). Qualitative researchers usually work
with smaller samples of people in fewer global settings than survey
researchers (Miles & Huberman, 1984, cited in Alzyoud, 2001). For this
reason, this study is not exceptional in generalising its qualitative results
(interviews analysis) from a small sample of fifty high school students (25
boys and 25 girls) in grade twelve (AIzyoud, 2001).
The sample was selected from both public and private schools in the
Zarqa and Amman educational directorates. However, these areas were
selected due to the convenience of access to the researcher and the variety of
student backgrounds, specifically schools from both rich and underprivileged
Data Analysis Approach
The findings of the interviews with high school students are
presented subsequently. The interview results are presented according to the
source of the violence. Therefore, these sources are teachers, students,
parents, and school administration.
Definition of Terms
Violence: Violence is an extreme form of aggression, such as assault,
rape, or murder, with causes that include frustration, exposure to violent
media, violence in the home or neighbourhood, and a tendency to see other
people's actions as hostile even when they are not. Also, certain situations
also increase the risk of aggression, such as drinking, insults, and other
provocations and environmental factors, like heat and overcrowding
(American Psychological Association, 2016).
Violence against Teachers: This refers to any form of physical
and/or emotional abuse or unfair treatment of people that result in a real or
potential danger of their health and dignity, i.e., harming their reputation
(Lokmić, Opić, & Bilić, 2013).
Grade Twelve Students: High school students aged eighteen years
old that reached the last school grade.
Importance of the Study
This study is considered important for the following reasons:
- It is the first study to explore the reasons for violence against teachers
- The results of the study will help teachers, teachers’ unions, and the
MOE to deal with violence against teachers.
- The study will enable parents to know the reasons behind violence
against teachers from the perspective of students.
- It is the first study to examine violence against teachers from the
perspective of students in Jordan.
- It is the first study to follow the qualitative approach in answering its
Findings and Discussion
Interviews with fifty high school students showed that
violence against teachers from students and parents was due to factors
related to teachers, students, parents, and school administration. Therefore,
both male and female students from all backgrounds showed similar
justifications and reasons for violence against teachers.
Students stated that violence against teachers was due to teachers,
school administration, the school environment, media, and family conditions.
Teachers who receive violence from students are the cause of this violence
due to their actions and practices. However, students were not the first to
initiate or start having problems with teachers. Basically, the teachers were
unable to accommodate students’ needs, treat them in an unfriendly manner,
and could not effectively communicate with students in helping them solve
their problems. This is because only the classroom teachers have an
educational background and can deal with students, both psychosocially and
educationally. Also, subject matter teachers graduated without taking any
educational courses, especially the courses that educate them about teaching
methods, student psychology, and student needs. In addition, students
believe that many teachers are not qualified to teach, graduated with the
minimum score, and joined the profession without the desire to teach and
deal with students. Furthermore, teachers in England enhance tolerance
education through direct cooperation with international organizations, such
as UNICEF. Their aim is to promote student’s understanding of global
citizenship and the children’s rights as part of an intensive focus on how to
be a good citizen both locally and internationally. Some schools have
established partnerships with city councils and other schools to discuss issues
related to tolerance and human rights from different perspectives, especially
children from different backgrounds. However, doing so enhances student
awareness, respect for others, as well as the importance of tolerating others
(Al-Zyoud, Morgan, & Brown, 2013).
Teachers are overloaded with heavy teaching loads and
administrative duties. Also, teachers are exhausted and dispassionate.
Therefore, they do not have the mood to communicate with students nicely
or look into their problems and solve them. As a result, they have rigid ways
of communicating and interacting with students, who find this unacceptable.
Students usually react to teachers’ practices using different forms of
violence. The most common violence form is physical abuse. Currently,
despite the presence of optimistic and enthusiastic teachers prepared to
involve themselves in solving problems, there are also increased levels of
frustration, since teachers are faced with extremely difficult tasks that they
are scarcely qualified to deal with (Orpinas et al., 2004; Jesús et al., 2009).
Subsequently, the elimination of these problems requires a series of actions
for which there is currently no general formula, though the situation can be
helped by the dissemination of all the accumulated knowledge on how to
achieve an appropriate system of coexistence (Jesús et al., 2009).
Students are the cause of violence against teachers. Students do not
have proper morals and discipline. Those students that have no respect for
teachers and others have weak family ties and they mostly come from broken
families. Their families are less educated, with poor communication and
social skills. Therefore, they cannot communicate with teachers and their
colleagues peacefully. Furthermore, schools do not teach morals and values
properly. Students are exposed to the educational material and school
curricula. Therefore, there is no room for extra school curricula and moral
education that shapes students’ personalities. Therefore, new generations
have less respect for teachers and school and less commitment toward their
society and country. Students are busy with social media, the internet, video
games, and mobile apps, rather than morality and the values of their society.
In September 2003, one of the TV stations broadcasted a video in which
17and 18-year-old students of a technical college in Toruń harassed their
teacher for an entire 45-minute English lesson. Thus, the video was recorded
by one of the perpetrators. The teacher did not even try to leave the class.
This was despite his desk being turned upside down, his bag and register
book being stolen, students' physical aggression and threats, sex offers and
sex simulations, constant oral aggression, attempts to deafen him by the
noise of mobile phones, and the wastebasket being placed on his head
Students exhibit violence against teachers as they are influenced by
the videos they watch, online and internet happenings, and computer games.
Most of such video games are based on action games and violence.
Therefore, students often practice what they play and watch. This occurrence
was also as a result of a lack of family supervision and control over what
students watch and play. Media violence significantly increases the risk that
a viewer or game player will behave more violently. Children automatically
acquire scripts for the behaviours they observe around them in real life or in
the media. Thus, this is along with emotional reactions and social cognitions
that support those behaviours. Social comparison processes also lead
children to seek out others who behave similarly aggressively in the media or
in real life, leading to a downward spiral that increases the risk of violent
behaviour (Huesmann & Tversky, 2016).
Consequently, the lack of counselling and psychological support for
students from certain backgrounds is another reason for violence against
teachers. Until now, very few schools have had counselling and
psychological support for students. Students need such services to
accommodate their needs and solve their problems. Adolescent students have
their own problems due to the nature of this stage. Hence, providing them
with the required psychological support will enable them to communicate
with others in a friendly manner. In this sense, students need peace education
to enable them to acquire: a respect for life; a desire to end violence; the
skills to promote and practice non-violence through education, dialogue, and
cooperation; full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity,
and political independence of states and non-intervention in matters that exist
essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state; full respect for/and
the promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; a commitment
to the peaceful settlement of conflicts and efforts to meet the developmental
and environmental needs of present and future generations; respect for/and
the promotion of equal rights of/and opportunities for women and men;
respect for/and the promotion of the rights of freedom of expression,
opinion, and information for every person; and adherence to the principles of
freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism,
cultural diversity, dialogue, and understanding at all levels of society and
among nations (Al-Zyoud, Morgan, & Brown, 2013).
School administrators are responsible for the violence against
teachers. The administrators are unable to meet student’s needs and cannot
solve student problems. Administrators are teachers that were promoted
because of their teaching experience. Thus, they were promoted not because
they have the leadership skills that allow them to lead and focus on student
conflicts, problems, and support. School leaders need to be prepared to have
a positive and strong response to the drastic changes in educational systems.
They will be able to support teachers and students if they were well-educated
and qualified leaders. Administrators need to be well-equipped with the
knowledge and skills of educational leadership, which would enable them to
lead schools to be centres of excellence in teaching, learning, and building
the capacities of students. In addition, it would move schools toward being
learning communities for students and local community members. School
leaders should have a wealth of experience with the educational process:
teaching, learning, teachers' affairs, professional development, assessment
and evaluation, curriculum design, strategic planning, school budgeting, and
so on (Alzyoud, 2015). However, school administrators are challenged by
the lack of resources and the lack of specialized and highly qualified human
resources that lead and inspire followers, whether those followers are
students, teachers, or principals (Alzyoud, 2009).
Violence against teachers occurs because of the large number of
students in classes. Many schools have enormous enrolment due to the
Syrian, Iraqi, and Yemeni crises. Hundreds of students from these countries
have enrolled in public schools with limited space and available services.
Students violate many things, not just the teachers. In addition, students do
not enjoy their school life and experiences due to the huge numbers of
students in classes. However, this situation has negatively affected students’
interactions with each other as well as with their teachers. Schools are not
equipped with the required educational facilities and resources, and they do
not offer safe and secure environments for students. Teacher victimisation
incurs significant costs, including lost wages, lost instructional
time/productivity, increased workers’ compensation, litigation, and negative
publicity (Levin et al., 2006). Therefore, there is an urgent need to better
understand the nature and extent of student-on-teacher violence to improve
students’ and teachers’ experiences and make school systems safer and more
effective (McMAHON et al., 2014).
Many teachers are old and the age gap between them and students is
huge. Therefore, teachers have different interests and ways of thinking.
Teachers do not seriously consider the new challenges and needs of students.
As a result, this leads to misunderstanding between teachers and students due
to the different views on educational and non-educational matters. Teachers
who were raised through traditional educational approaches strongly believe
in such approaches and they deny modern educational approaches and open
channels of communication with their students. Therefore, such teachers
show a lack of respect and humiliate their students. These teachers do not
give any support to their students. As a result, students commit violence
against teachers due to the lack of positive and friendly relationships with
their teachers. Old teachers were considered as those who were burnt out and
unable to find a common language with youth. From then on, it was often
expressed that, simply, the wrong people are becoming teachers nowadays
Another reason for the violence against teachers is because students
are not taught social and educational morals, values, and ethics. Students
come from different backgrounds; and oftentimes, they exhibit different
attitudes toward teachers and schools. Schools have no formal educational
subject about morals or ethics. Thus, this depends on the teachers and
schools if they want to educate students and make them aware of their
society’s values and ethics. Teachers usually focus on educational and
teaching subjects to cover the formal requirements.
Anyone that graduated with a bachelor’s degree in a scientific
educational subject is eligible to be a teacher. Hundreds of teachers
graduated from high schools with the minimum entry requirement (65%) to
universities. After then, they graduated from universities with only a 2.00
grade point average. No scientific, robust selection process or test is required
from teachers. Furthermore, hundreds of teachers graduated from
noneducational colleges without any ideas about education, teaching methods, or
learning. Hence, these teachers are not aware of how to deal with students’
problems. Also, these teachers receive in-service educational training which
is not enough to provide them with the educational knowledge that they need
to be professional teachers. Therefore, teachers are not well-prepared to deal
with students, both educationally and psychologically. Teachers can affect
students’ reactions as a result of their approaches and ways of working.
Good preparation, interesting content presentation, and good communication
with students, with specified boundaries of acceptable behaviour, together
with the teacher being an example by creating a pleasant working
atmosphere, will help prevent undesirable student behaviours (Lokmić, Opić,
& Bilić, 2013).
Students display violence against teachers because schools do not
offer any educational co-curricular activities. Students throughout the
academic year and the school day majorly focus on traditional educational
activities. Students are surrounded with activities that are based on reading,
writing, listening, and discussion. All the available activities are
classroombased activities. Fine arts and physical education classes are not effective due
to the lack of support from teachers, principals, and educational authorities.
Thus, they consider these subjects to be unimportant. Most schools have no
resources or facilities for these two subjects. Also, subject matter teachers
always overtake these sessions to cover their own subjects. Furthermore,
students have limited chances to leave their schools for educational,
scientific, or leisure visits. Therefore, students spend their whole day and
year without proper entertainment-based classes.
Students display violence against teachers due to the depression that
students experience. Violent students are from poor, broken, and
singleparent families. Students from such families are depressed. Often times, they
imitate their parents and their experience outside school. Students are
exposed to real violence in their families and environments. Therefore, they
bring this violence to their schools. Students from such backgrounds lack the
knowledge and skills of communication, interaction, positive thinking,
tolerance, and dialogue. They strongly believe in physical and verbal
violence, and often use them in handling their problems with teachers,
principals, colleagues, and others.
Students display violence against teachers in response to the
physically and psychologically aggressive acts that teachers shows toward
them. Teachers of low personal, professional, educational, and scientific
quality discriminate between students and use violence against them.
Therefore, students react to teachers with the view of defending themselves.
Some students display violence against their teachers due to drug and
alcohol problems. Students who take drugs and drink alcohol are not aware
of the consequences of their acts. Thus, students from poor backgrounds
have access to drugs and alcohol due to the lack of family supervision and
care. These students have poor academic performance as well, which make
teachers to react to these students with physical and verbal violence.
Furthermore, students strongly believe that students attack teachers
due to the lack of proper legislation that would punish students that commit
such crimes against their teachers. There is no specific legislation issued to
protect teachers from student-on-teacher violence. When students commit
violations, they seek help and support from their tribes. Thus, they benefit
from societal traditions that enable tribe leaders to solve social problems
without going to the police or courts. Many of these violations were handled
by a visit from the tribe’s leaders and the price for it was a cup of Arabic
coffee. Students of such cultures usually get away with the crime they have
The amount of violence that students experience through the media
channels is massive. Consequently, students experience violence through
computer games, console video games, YouTube, Twitter, television,
Facebook, and many other sources. They watch and interact with all media
channels, and this negatively affects their personalities. Moreover, the
current conflicts and wars in many regional countries that surround Jordan
affect students. The wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and Libya have
changed students’ perceptions about violence. Students have been strongly
exposed to real fighting and killing scenes, which have affected their
personalities. Basically, students have adopted some of what they saw in the
media from the fighting and killing practices as their approach in dealing
with their teachers, principals, and colleagues. This is internationally
common. Here, an American speciality in the field of school violence is
shooting. It has its own tradition, which means that perpetrators often refer to
previous performances. One of the biggest shootings happened on the 17th of
April 2007, when a 23-year-old student brought automatic pistols to the
campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and killed 32
people (Jesús et al., 2009).
Students who attack their teachers bring violence and aggression
from their families. Some students are part of aggressive family
environments. The students have experienced violence between their parents,
brothers, sisters, relatives, and neighbours. As such, they are very familiar
with physical and verbal violence.
The socialization of students is limited to some family and religious
duties and practices. Students have minimal interaction with parents and
family members. In addition, students’ life-styles have enhanced their
selfcentredness. Parents are busy with their jobs and with other duties and
responsibilities. They give minimal supervision and support to their children.
Thus, students spend most of their time engaged in individual-based
activities like video games, browsing the internet, listening to music,
watching YouTube videos, and using their mobile devices. Such activities
have affected their social skills and understanding of their culture. Violence
has become part of their personalities and their ways of dealing with others
and with problems due to their lack of social skills.
Schools are not the right place for some students. Students who
commit violence against teachers are forced by parents to attend schools.
Students find schools unattractive for various reasons related to poor school
buildings, resources and culture, and low-quality teachers, principals, and
colleagues. As a result, students hate schools under such conditions. They are
unable to stay in school without making trouble and problems for others.
In some cases, parents, mainly fathers or male guardians, display
violence against teachers in response to teachers’ actions against their
students. Parents react to teachers’ practices and actions by displaying
physical and verbal violence against them. Usually, such parents are not
educated and come from poor families and underprivileged areas. They have
poor communication skills and suffer from depression, frustration, and lack
of respect in their communities. Therefore, they overreacted when they heard
about teachers’ violence or improper actions against their children.
Violence against teachers is one of the main social issues that
Jordanian society currently experiences. There are many factors behind this
issue. High school students stated that students, parents, teachers, principals,
and school culture were responsible for student-on-teacher violence.
Therefore, violence against teachers occurred because of the following
Students commit violence against teachers because some teachers
have low academic and educational performance. Schools are not the right
places for some students. Therefore, some students are forced by their
parents to attend schools. Students have minimal social interaction, typically
few with family and religious duties. Some students are part of aggressive
home environments. Students are not taught social and educational morals,
values, and ethics. Also, there is no legislation that would punish students for
committing such violence against teachers. Parents, mainly fathers or male
guardians, commit violence against teachers in response to teachers’ actions
against their students.
The results of the study showed the needs for urgent actions to be
taken by the educational authorities to eliminate the violence against
teachers. Therefore, the study recommends the following:
- Provide teachers with the required educational training that would
enable them to support their students and solve students’ problems.
- Provide schools with professional counsellors to help students to
peacefully overcome their problems with teachers, colleagues, or others.
- Conduct educational training and workshops for students from
underprivileged areas to enable them to communicate and interact with
- Improve the quality of the educational services, resources, and
infrastructures that would help both teachers and students to work in a
- Reduce the teaching loads of teachers to enable them to have enough
time to help their students.
- Conduct more research on the causes of violence in schools from the
perspectives of parents, teachers, and administrators.
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