Atmosphere of violence (Archive photo)
Photo: Tzvika Israeli, GPO
Study: School violence rife
Study: 50 percent of students use violence, 20 percent of students attacked teachers
Israeli schools a dangerous place: A comprehensive study commissioned by the Education Ministry presents a grim picture of skyrocketing violence in Israeli schools, with 20 percent of students saying they fell victim to serious violence (blackmail or injury.)


Almost all students reported being exposed to verbal violence in the month before the study was undertaken, with about half saying they were the victim of "moderate" physical violence (threats, pushing and shoving, and punches.)


The study is based on a sample of 526 schools and more than 27,000 students in grades 4 to 11 across the nation, including religious and Arab schools.


Meanwhile, more than 15 percent of teachers said they were cursed or insulted by a student in the month prior to the study, with one in five teachers expressing some kind of concern for their personal safety.


The least amount of violence was reported in the Druze sector.


The study showed that close to 50 percent of students believe an atmosphere of violence prevails at schools, with 27 percent saying they feel unsafe at school. Overall, 3.7 percent of students reported carrying knives at school and 1.5 percent reported carrying guns.


More than half (54.3 percent) of students said they used violence against another student, while about 20 percent said they used violence against teachers.


Overall, more students in non-Jewish schools reported falling victim to physical violence, with Jewish students reporting higher rates of verbal violence. The highest rate of violence was reported in the Bedouin sector.


Surprisingly perhaps, more religious elementary school students reported falling victim to violence than secular students, but the trend was reversed at junior high schools.


Violence researcher Rami Benbenishty, who carried out the study, said "the picture received from the study is grim." He noted that although the study shows a decrease in moderate physical violence and verbal violence, serious violence and sexual harassment are still high.


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