UTSA researcher awarded NIJ grant to study violence against teachers
UTSA researcher awarded NIJ grant to study violence against teachers

October 25, 2021 — Issues in education and public schools seem to appear in the news daily – from masks debates to bullying to curriculum changes, there always seems to be something to discuss.

Byongook Moon Directory PhotoA researcher at the University of Texas at San Antonio is conducting research exploring an overlooked, but serious issue – teacher victimization.

Byongook Moon, a professor in the College for Health, Community and Policy’s Criminology & Criminal Justice department, has earned a grant totaling $579,041 from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to fund this nationwide study.

This grant comes on the heels of two previous ones, wherein Moon surveyed teachers in San Antonio. The findings show just how serious the issue is – and as such, he applied for funding to conduct the study on a larger scale.

The new study will survey at the 50 largest school districts across the United States, including New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. The data collection will begin in the spring of 2022. This is a longitudinal study that will follow the same teachers over time in order to investigate long-term consequences to teachers, students and administrations.

Moon hopes to shed more light on the often-overlooked issue of teacher victimization – and its very serious consequences.

“There are several types of victimization included in the study,” Moon said. “It ranges from physical aggression, theft, verbal abuse, cyberbullying and sexual harassment.” Moon notes that for this study, he is primarily looking at teacher victimization from students, not from colleagues or administrators.

Once the type of victimization is identified, he follows up with looking at the negative impacts that this has on the teachers – physical and psychological well-being, job performance and turnover.

At a time when education is more crucial than ever, and jobs in education are in high demand, Moon believes this research can reveal why teachers are leaving the profession, as well as help school administrators and districts when it comes to handling reported incidents.

“Administrators have to take this issue seriously and find a way to address this properly.” he said.

While the data collection is a massive undertaking, Moon is hopeful this study will bring more attention to teacher victimization, turnover rates and academic performance. If it is successful, he plans to submit more proposals to extend the research even further.

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