School teachers are commonly the instigators of bullying within a school environment, and are often the subject of bullying themselves.


While teacher bullying is recognized as serious and harmful, there are no statistics on either teachers bullying others or teachers being bullied.[1] However, according to an article, a high percentage of teachers admit that they bully their students.[2]

Comprehensive research carried out in the UK found that teaching was one of the occupations at highest risk from bullying:[3]

In another survey, the Economic and Social Research Institute found bullying to be more prevalent in schools (13.8%) than other workplaces (7.9%).[4]

Students with learning disabilities may be especially at risk for teacher bullying.[5]

Complex dynamics

There are complex issues with reporting bullying by teachers, not only for children, but also parents. By means of their position of power over the child, power that enables them to impact the child's present and future,[6] children and parents are reluctant to report.[7] There are specific signs that parents should watch for as their child is unlikely to disclose that the teacher is in fact the bully.[8]

Furthermore, a teacher who bullies may present as a Jekyll and Hyde figure: they are often celebrated and popular so their abuse can go on for long periods of time undetected.[9] Research on teachers in classrooms is lacking and it is unclear how much these activities go undetected or rewarded by teachers in the classroom. For coaches teaching a sport, it can be seen that adults are often rewarded for bullying conduct that would never be tolerated or condoned if done by a child.[10]

Parsons identifies teacher bullying as often being part of a wider bullying culture within a school, with a complex web of dynamics such as:[11]

Staffroom bullying

A common manifestation of teacher bullying is staffroom bullying where teachers are bullied by other teachers or school managers.[4][15][16][17][18][19]


In investigating teacher bullying, it is important to differentiate a teacher or coach who is demanding versus one who is demeaning. So "yelling" for instance can be highly productive and motivating, but if it involves belittling and is laced with putdowns, personal attacks, and insults, it becomes abusive.[20] Bullying by teachers can take many forms in order to harass and intimidate including:[21]

Bullying of teachers can take many forms in order to harass and intimidate including:[23]

Bullies often exploit positions of seniority over the colleagues they are intimidating (see rankism) by:[23]

In some cases, teachers are ignored and isolated by colleagues in the staffroom or turned down for promotion or training courses (see silent treatment).[23] Other times, teachers are ostracized as whistleblowers when they report to administrators on students' reports of bullying being done by their colleagues.[24]


The power imbalance of teacher to student is greater than peer to peer and may well intensify the impact. The possible impacts on a child of bullying by teachers include:

Notable incidents

In April 2012, Stuart Chaifetz, a father of an autistic boy, released a video on YouTube[26] 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.[27] The evidence was secured when Chaifetz wired his son with a microphone 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."[28][29] However, it appears that students with learning disabilities may be especially at risk for teacher bullying.[5]

In June 2014, Britain proposed the "Cinderella Law" which would put emotional abuse in the Criminal Code.[30]

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.





See also


  1. ^ "Bullying Teachers". 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  2. ^ "Teachers Bullying Students". No Bullying: Anti Bullying Help Center. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ a b "Students with Learning Disabilities at Risk for Teacher Bullying". Kids in the House. 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  6. ^ "Teaching Bullies". Ginger Kadlec: BeAKidsHero™. Archived from the original on 2015-11-13. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  7. ^ "Why don't kids speak up about bullying?". The Edvocate. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  8. ^ "10 Signs That Your Child's Teacher or Coach May Be a Bully". Healing Walls. 2015-10-26. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  9. ^ PhD, Jennifer Fraser (2015-08-07). "Recognizing the Abusive Coach as Jekyll and Hyde". Teaching Bullies. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  10. ^ "Rewarding Adults Who Bully". Kids in the House. 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  11. ^ 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)
  12. ^ Terry, AA (1998). "Teachers as targets of bullying by their pupils : a study to investigate incidence". British Journal of Educational Psychology. 68 (2): 255–268. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8279.1998.tb01288.x.
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ McEvoy A Teachers Who Bully Students: Patterns and Policy Implications - Hamilton Fish Institute’s Persistently Safe Schools Conference, Philadelphia, September 11-14, 2005 Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ a b c Field T Staffroom bullying The Times Educational Supplement (TES) Magazine 21 June 2002
  16. ^ Strickland S Bullies in the staff room The Independent 23 November 1995
  17. ^ Dean C Call to beat the staffroom bullies Archived 2012-10-03 at the Wayback Machine The Times Educational Supplement (TES) 16 April 2004
  18. ^ Being bullied in the staffroom BBC News 20 November 2006
  19. ^ McCall B Staffroom suffering Education Guardian, 20 November 2006
  20. ^ "Abuse or motivation? I know it when I see it. Do you? By Matt Davidson, Ph.D., President, Institute for Excellence & Ethics (IEE)". Excellence and Ethics (Blog). Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  21. ^ "Preventing Child Maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence" (PDF). World Health Organization / International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
  22. ^ "The use of homophobic slurs in sports: It's for the athletes' own good, right?". The Edvocate. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  23. ^ a b c Lepkowska D The shocking stories of teacher-on-teacher bullying Archived 2017-06-19 at the Wayback Machine Secondary Education News (SecEd) 11 Nov 2010
  24. ^ Cribb, Robert (2015-04-02). "Jennifer Fraser says she left because of a "hostile, humiliating, poisoned or intolerable work environment," created after she complained her son was being abused by teacher coaches. The school says allegations have no basis". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  25. ^ Munday K The Bullying of Teachers Through the Use of Formal Disciplinary Procedures 2003 Archived June 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Teacher/Bully: How My Son Was Humiliated and Tormented by his Teacher and Aide", Stuart Chaifetz, video at YouTube, posted April 20, 2012
  27. ^ Horace Mann Elementary School website
  28. ^ NJ Father Records Teachers Bullying His Autistic Child,
  29. ^ "Verbal abuse of autistic student sparks calls for reform", Jim Walsh and Phil Dunn, Cherry Hill Courier-Post, reprinted at USA Today website, 29 April 2012
  30. ^ "Should Emotional Abuse Be Criminalized?". Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  31. ^ Whiplash at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  32. ^ PhD, Jennifer Fraser (2015-08-26). "Whiplash: Drum Solo versus Suicide". Teaching Bullies. Retrieved 2015-11-29.

Further reading


Academic papers