top of page

Polk Cty, FL: Dramatic increase in teachers being assaulted by (SPED) students; parents blamed

Dec 21, 2019, Lakeland (FL) Ledger: Student assaults on Polk County school officials skyrocket …After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act became law in early 2018, assaults on school officials in Polk County skyrocketed to 64 in 2018-19 and stand at 26 since the start of this school year through Dec. 9…. Reporting of battery on a Florida school official has seen a dramatic increase in the last two years. Law enforcement and school officials attribute that to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act, which was passed in early 2018 following the Parkland mass school shooting…. There were 25 assaults on school officials in the 2015-2016 school year in Polk County. But that number dropped to fewer than 15 for two school years between August 2016 and May 2018. Then the MSD law went into effect and the number skyrocketed to 64 last school year. Between mid-August and early December this school year, there have been 26 incidents…. The numbers also show a trend: more than 60 percent of those assaults each year are routinely committed by special education students — those students who have learning disabilities or behavioral issues and are receiving special accommodations to help them. Some teachers have privately expressed frustrations that the worst-behaved special ’education students remain in general education classrooms when they clearly don’t belong there. ‘Society has changed’… Judd said there has been a breakdown in society and some parents are not holding their children accountable for their bad behavior. “They took prayer out of school, they took the paddle out of school, which means they took discipline out of school and a less disciplined environment invites more violence,” Judd said. “Discipline and respect begin at home and, if the children aren’t receiving that at a very young age, then they take that bad behavior to the school system and the school system, because of the current environment, isn’t allowed to be as prolific as they used to be with their accountability and discipline.” And, he pointed out, hitting or pushing a teacher is a felony, something for which a child can be charged as an adult and a crime for which a juvenile will not be sent to any kind of diversion program to keep the arrest off their record… Deputy Superintendent John Hill, who has worked in education for 25 years, said a number of factors have developed over the last few decades that has adversely impacted children. “I often tell people that children have not changed; what has changed is our society, environment and popular culture,” Hill said, describing several incidents when he was inadvertently hit while breaking up fights between students. “On each occasion, the student was genuinely remorseful because it was unintentional.”…


bottom of page