My student is hitting me!

The Question:
Do any of your students hit you and if so what do you do?  I am having lots of trouble with one student and administration does nothing to remedy the situation and talking to the parents has not helped either.
I am documenting, but I am at a loss!
The Answers:
Michaela Cernetic Bolton 
Could there be some sensory issues the OT could evaluate?
Laurie Chvatal 
I am so sorry to hear that! This year has been a doozey for me as well. Maybe give the child a doll or stuffed animal to hit, maybe it is a frustration thing for him/her. Hope things work out for you wink
Carrie Murray Sheppard
 You should not have to put up with that. Do you belong to a teacher organization? If so, contact them. If not, think about joining one so that you have legal representation. If admin isn’t going to step in on your behalf, you need to get someone else involved. In Texas, you can refuse to have a student in your classroom if they have been violent towards you. Good luck.
Erin Herward Thurston
Hang in there! It is very hard when you have a child demonstrating those behaviors. Are there other staff members who you could turn to for help with this child? When I had a difficult student a few years ago, i was lucky enough to gather a whole team to support him: guidance counselor, school social worker, behavior intervention teacher along with our assistant principal. I would not have made it through the year without their support. The child ended up spending 2 years with me in kindergarten and I really feel like I made a positive difference in his life. He is in 2nd grade now and is a much happier child. Good luck!
Jamie Butterfield Berube
 Ugh, that’s terrible to not have administrator support. Honestly, if students hit me or other students, they are immediately removed from the classroom. Do you have a school social worker or guidance counselor the student can work with? Lots of whole group or small group role-playing of what to do when angry or frustrated. After incident, have the student draw a picture of what happened and what they can do next time. Let the student use a squishy hand-held ball to hold and hit with that. (Like the floor or a special place). At the very least the student should be removed from the group when he/she hits, like in a take-a-break chair, until they are ready to be safe.
Jamie Butterfield Berube 
Do you have a buddy teacher, somewhere the student can go to a time-out in their room while calming down?
Betsy Walton Munn
 I am curious to see what others advise as well. I have had a few tough kids over the years, ones that have upset me and made me cry as well. The only other thing I can suggest is for you to train your class to “clear the room”. Maybe your administrator will give you more support if you have to keep teaching in the hall. I kept a tub of crayons and a box of clipboards out in the hall a couple of years ago, so that the rest of us could pick up whatever we were doing and go to the hall while the out of control student could have the temper tantrum and then calm down. Do check to see if you have a school psychologist, social worker or other mental health professional to give you some support.
Jessica Marie 
If all else fails, threaten the administration that you will press charges on the child. I know of teachers that have had to do that.  No one should go to a school and be hit. Children or adults.
Christina Collinsworth
 I had something like that last year and my guidance counselor and school psychologist really helped me a lot. If that is not an option, are you part of the union? You may want to look into that route and see if the union can help? If no union, then I would just nag the office and at least ask them to come observe.
Kelly Lehtomaki 
Hope its not from the same child as we are having problems with.. unfortunatley NOTHING was done as a consequence for him beating up my son… NOTHING at all!
Tandy Lynn Braid
 If you are looking for Extreme measures call 911…assault and battery is assault and battery…admin will pay attention and so will the parents.
Wynn Godbold
 All of these suggestions are right on. Checking each one of these will be well worth your time. In addition, you may want to investigate a restraint class for yourself- what I mean is the appropriate way to restrain a child. I’ve never taken one, but I’ve heard of them and worked in schools where there were certain teachers who were trained in restraint. When a child (such as the one you describe) became violent, there were staff members who had the knowledge of how to safely deal with the behavior- for the safety of the child and those around.
Since you are the classroom teacher- apparently out on this limb alone- it may be of use to you.
Now, what happens if the child hits another child? Is there any support for you in that instance?
And mostly, let’s take care of you. There are other children in the room who love you and who you are there for. In what ways each day can you minimize the effects of the one in order to maximize the positives of your class?
Identify 2 tiny things you can do. Put them into place and then build on that. YOU are loved, cherished, and needed. Tell us, what might be possible for turning the tide after lunch to a smile- or a grin instead of tears.
Amanda Bertrand 
Unacceptable. The child should be immediately removed from the classroom and administration should be stepping in. Behavior support teacher, guidance should all be stepping in to assist. I recommend sitting down with all of them to discuss the next step. Also immediately begin a behavior chart focusing on the targeted behavior “keeping hands to self” child receives a smile when Doing what is expected and letter mark when hitting occurs. Establish a target number of smiles to obtain for a positive day and reward child at the end of the day if he/she earns it. Goodluck!
Anna Marie Stephanos
 Contact the school counselor and have a parent teacher conference with the child’s parent(s). Have the school counselor in on the meeting. Also, if you really want support from your principal and vice principal, keep hitting the ding button in your room asking for one of the administrators to come to your room for an out of control child. If you keep doing that, trust me, the principal will get tired of it and will do something to help you with this student. He/she needs to call the parents to come pick up the child each time the child hits you. That is unacceptable what the kid is displaying in your classroom. I don’t agree with leaving the child alone in the classroom and taking the other kids into the hallway. Never know what the child is going to do and if anything happens it will be on you for leaving the kid unattended. You don’t want to lose your job!! Hope this helps. Take it from a former kindergarten and first grade teacher who taught for almost 21 years.
Heather Wells
 Do what one of our teachers had done in the past: if admins don’t come to you, you go to them. Take the entire class on a “walking field trip” to the admins office & explain that violent behavior is occurring in the classroom & that it will not be tolerated, as it is putting you & the other students in an unsafe place.
Kamilah Haynes
 Just went through this…I mean literally…psychologist, school counselor and behavior specialist should be notified. Begin RTI process. Document EVERYTHING from phone calls and Notes home, any interventions, what happened after the intervention, did they work? Are there other behavior problems beside this one?
After the child hit me the first time, I never let him get in my personal space. You have to protect yourself. Don’t let him get close enough to you that he can hit you.
Kate Paradee Roberts
 Our district has something called BBST.. Other districts have different names for it, but when there is a child that presents issues in school, we meet as a team and come up with a plan. If that doesn’t work, talk to your school adjustment counselor. If that doesn’t work, send an email to your building principal about the entire issue and CC the superintendent. This way, you have it in writing.
Linda Lind
 A question to ask is what is the antecedent, in other words what happens right before he/she hits you? Does he/she have a physical need, is it a social /emotional need, is it an academic need, or is he trying to avoid something/ someone? Is there something you as the teacher can do to help him/her make a different choice? What do you do when he/she hits you- do you react or walk away? I know it is tough…I have also been in your shoes!
Karen O’Brien 
I took a CPI class to be able to properly restrain a child who threw tantrums & chairs at other students. Hit & kicked me! We had a code word & my students evacuated to other classrooms calmly & the appropriate office staff was alerted.
Melissa Mullin Beykirch
 All these suggestions are right on. It sounds like our administration. As long as they don’t have to deal with it then it must not exist. I hope you have a good union – this is when they become helpful. Make sure they are aware of your situation. Especially if something happens to another child – you will be protected. And yes, document everything – even meetings with your admin. Good Luck – I’ll be praying for you.
Karen Norton-Smith
I want to follow these posts. A student of mine is coming close and I fear it will only be a matter of time. He is so disruptive several times a day that instruction is affected.
Mary Coomer
 Do you have a teacher protection act in place? If so I would implement it.
Erin Herward Thurston
 I want to add to document the child’s behavior. It’s valuable data for many reasons.
Tanya Cox
 You have a few choices that have been mentioned in other’s posts as well. Where I teach I can have the child “Baker Acted” for harm to others.
I could chose to press charges against the child (assault and battery), and the district (hostile work environment.)
My union can require him to be removed from my class permanently, I can also do a DCF report for harm to others. None of these choices require parents or admin approval. Find 0ut your rights in your state and act on them!
Lisa Ogden Banuelos
 I ask the other parents to complain to district/ superintendent. Once they’ve heard a complaint or 2 they usually step in to help.
Melody Pruitt Vieth
 I highly recommend getting parents’ permission for a professional to do a functional behavior analysis tool on the child. I disagree that you should remove the child from the class, get legal representation, and press charges. That neither supports the child learning and practicing appropriate behavior nor supports his learning in any way whatsoever.
No, you shouldn’t have to be hit, so try holding one of those foldable nap time mats in front of your body while you address his behaviors. Remember that all behaviors are a form of communication…. what is he using his hands to tell you? What deep-seated need is he trying to express?
Diana Herron Prkut
 Talk to your union rep.
Lissie Aliotti Antos
 Yes, do you have a union? Administration should remove the child. In my district, a teacher can suspend. The stress is not acceptable for you.
Janice Gillihan Duckett 
I had a similar student 2 years ago. We truly were only able to have class when he allowed us to due to his extreme behavior. He would turn over tables, throw things across the room, attempt to throw chairs, punched any kid within arms reach, hit, bite and spit on me—all without provocation or warning. Obviously he had some anger issues and behavior problems. There was absolutely no support for him or me,  so we dealt with it as best we could. He was often suspended, especially when he injured another child. I documented and documented repeatedly but the only consequence, even after he slapped the principal, was another suspension. Parent was more angry that we “bothered” her at work than concerned about his behaviors.
He eventually moved and had the same issues at his new school. He is now back in our school district having the same problems, but this time is in the “trust” room where they have more aides and deal with behavior problems more specifically, in large part due to my 7 months of dealing with him and documenting his behaviors.
Absolutely nothing I did worked with this child. There was no one willing to address the problem aggressively. My parents of other students complained to the superintendent and principal to no avail. While I agree with Melody’s comments that removing the child from the class does not “support the child learning or practicing appropriate behavior” there comes a point when my and the class’s safety is more important. I was afraid to turn my back on this student lest he have an outburst and attack me from behind with his fists yet once again. All I can say is good luck Sarah! Hopefully you will build the case for this child’s needs to be met so he/she can receive the help he needs and thus successful!
Karen Wotton Kent
If they are not helping you then you will have to get a union rep or someone else involved. I had a student a few years ago that had severe separation anxiety and would kick, punch, run away and one time I was holding the door shut so he wouldn’t run out of the class and with the other hand was calling for help and he bit me so hard I was bruised for 2 weeks. it took him several months to get adjusted to school and hardly spoke the whole year (we had to teach him basic sign language). but he got through it and has been doing well every year since. Your safety and the other students’ sense of safety is being affected and that seems like reason enough to demand help or seek union representation. good luck.  My point to that story was to tell you that I wouldn’t have gotten through it had I not had the support of the admin to back me up.
Nadine Inglis Berger
 Melody, I’m sorry, but I respectfully disagree that a child should not be removed from class. What about the rights of the other children to have a safe learning environment?
Sarah Flores
 Thank you all for ALL of your comments and suggestions. I teach at a private school so it is a whole other ball game. I am going to look into Texas law about having the child removed from my class. It is not something I like, but for everyone’s safety I think it is best. Unfortunately all of the people that were suggested to approach for this situation do not exist at my school and those that do look the other way. As for what triggers the child…..it is when he does not get his way. He hits his mom and she does nothing to correct it so it is easier for her to give in. I guess he feels he can do the same to me. Again, thank you all so much for taking the time to comment. Everything that I read I will put it to use somehow.
Amy Rhine
 Like everyone else said call TCTA or whatever teacher organization you belong to, like someone else said here in TX you can refuse to have a student in your class, especially if they are hitting you and here in TX Kg isn’t mandatory so they can stay home with good old Mom and Dad.  If they don’t like it too bad and they have to deal with the behavior. Also, as someone above stated. get certified in CPI. I am, and let me tell you it has come in handy when a kid is kicking and trying to get at me. I scoop them up and they hate it! So it doesn’t take long for them to realize they can’t do that and they won’t b/c they hate being put in the hold. Here in TX kids can’t be prosecuted until they are 10, but if you know a cop have him/her come up to your classroom and talk about what happens when people do that in public. Also, to go off of some other good comments, have your co-workers help you, counselor, etc. Anytime I hear a kid from Pre-K screaming I automatically have my class continue whatever they are doing and go check to see if that person needs help. We all do that (even though I’m Kg) we check on one another. Sometimes it helps to get that kid in a different environment. I sure hope you get the help you deserve and need. Keep us updated.
Jen Staples Rodriguez 
Melody-what about the other students’ rights to learn? What about the teacher’s rights to work in an environment free from assault? Everyone else can’t suffer literally at the hands of one child. If you aren’t getting support from your admin, file charges. You will be SHOCKED at how quickly the support will roll in. It may be the only way to get this child the support he or she needs, AND the support you need.
Suzanne Giaimo
 Call the police. It’s your right!
Elise Summer Wright
 I would definitely talk to an attorney about school law and your legal rights.
Nancy Bittner 
Yes to all that. Have you tried wrist weights? They are weights that velcro on a student’s wrists. Because they make a student’s arms heavier, they can be reminded not to hit. It is recommended to take 2.5%-5% of the users body weight to calculate the amount of weight that should be used for the user. They use them in special needs classrooms. You have to explain to the child why and when they will wear them. I would also get permission from the parents. Get help from your school counselor. Target the times the child hits. (Like some kids have trouble at recess) They wear them during those times. They are not used as a punishment but as a tool to help the child remember not to hit. I have used them, also ankle weights for kickers, and lap weights for kids who can’t sit still. Works really well.
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4 thoughts on “My student is hitting me!

  1. I am hit by my kindergarten students many times a day, with two students hitting me and the other kids and two others threatening violence (but not acting upon it). They destroy property, curse, flip tables, throw chairs, climb cabinets, leave the classroom without permission, call me names, scream, and throw things. I have been bitten (he also dragged another child out in the hallway, kicking him,,,,I was bitten when i got in the way…he was returned to my class with no consequence beyond that i could apply in my classroom), twice had a child attempt to stab me with scissors and once with a sharpened pencil (no more scissors and pencils are under lock and key), and had a child attempt to choke me (i requested his removal and the committee placed him back in my classroom). It took a lawyer to get a part-time assistant in my room and the behavior specialist to observe. It has been made clear to me that the administration blames me for not getting these behaviors under control. Suspensions have been regular since November (not prior to that and usually after an administrator witnesses it or is assaulted herself…my word is not enough).

    I have been placed on an action plan for behavior management, written up for calling the office too often, and, in the case in which I was choked, i received a reprimand stating that the incident was “largely due to my lack of proper supervision of the student”…who was of course facing me and less than a foot away in order to reach my throat. When a parent requested their child be moved (because he was following suit after witnessing another child behaving violently), it was listed as a parent complaint against me. One of the parents whose child behaves violently has been in my classroom for several hours a day for weeks to monitor his son and stated “you are doing the best you can. You have no help” after witnessing the lack of response from the administration when the office is called. Books, crayons, manipulatives, pencils, erasers, etc. are all under lock and key in my classroom (it is stark and dull, not at all what a K class should be, but necessary for safety). My students don’t feel safe and I don’t feel safe. My classroom is constantly under siege (we are not allowed to exit the classroom when things are being thrown at us….I was told that sending my kids to the classroom next door…prearranged…disrupted instructional time…nevermind the fact that objects are flying at our heads and a child is running around punching kids while I try to stop it.)

    On one occasion, a child jumped on another child, wrapping his arms around the child’s chin (he was aiming for his neck, but the other child fortunately lowered his chin). i had to pry his arms from around the other child’s neck (witnessed by the PTA president). The administrator took over half an hour to come to the class, at which point the child had calmed down and taken a seat. Her exact words were “I witness that everything is fine”. I am angry that my kids are behind and not receiving quality instruction (due to constant disruptions…i hardly ever complete a lesson), they don’t feel safe and are being hurt, i am constantly covered in scratches and bruises (I take photos), and my job is at stake. I don’t know what else I can do as the students who behave violently do not respond to consequences (positive or negative) and, once I have exhausted all classroom steps I have the choice to either let a student run wild (and attempt to block him from hitting or throwing things at the other kids) in my classroom and teach my class or ask 20 five year olds to sit still while I chase them around the room and try to stop them from hitting or throwing things. I know I am going to get non-renewed (and am planning to resign to protect myself). I know I will have to find a new job…and I am worried about what to say in an interview, knowing that the report will be that I have no classroom management skills if they call my principal.

    I have tried every form of behavior plan, checklist, sticker chart, etc. imaginable.

    What do you do in a situation like this? How do you move on from having your character and teaching skills assaulted by the administration? How do you prevent these behaviors when the students don’t care about the consequences (no snack, silent lunch, no recess…they only get 5 minutes after lunch, though…, phone call home, time out…they don’t go, so all I can do is give them another consequence for refusing to follow directions), or the rewards (i have spent ridiculous amounts of money on prizes, am constantly ‘noticing’ good behavior when it occurs, and do everything I can to develop a positive relationship with my students)? Please advise!

    Cadence

  2. It is the chronic and widespread disconnect between inschool administrators whose hands are binded by red tape and egos that are a headline problem with education….
    test scores… Pffft!

  3. I HAD ONE LAST YEAR WHO HAD HIT HIS PREVIOUS TEACHER THE YEAR BEFORE AND CAME TO SCHOOL THE FIRST WEEK AND ANNOUNCED “I HIT MY TEACHER LAST YEAR AND I CAN DO IT AGAIN THIS YEAR”. MY HUSBAND HAPPENED TO BE IN THE ROOM TO PiCK ME UP WHILE STUDENT WAS STILL IN CLASSROOM, I INTRODUCED THE TWO AND SAID “THIS IS THE FELLOW WHO HIT HIS TEACHER LAST YEAR AND SAYS HE CAN DO IT AGAIN THIS YEAR”… MY HUSBAND 6’3” AND 280 POUNDS LOOKED DOWN AT HIM AND SAID “THAT ISNT GOING TO HAPPEN THIS YEAR____ CUZ IF IT DOES I WILL BE VERY UNHAPPY AND YOU DO NOT WANT TO MAKE ME UNHAPPY, NOW DO YOU?” REPLY “NO SIR”… NEVER THREATENED IN MY CLASS AGAIN.

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