Teacher’s union says more elementary school kids are physically assaulting teachers

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KENT, Wash. -- Shocking pictures of bruises and cuts.

The Kent Education Association on Tuesday shared pictures of injuries sustained by teachers after, it says, they were assaulted by students.

Teacher Michael Kerstetter says he’s been injured at Daniel Elementary.

“My lanierd pulled and had my neck sprained,” Kerstetter said.

“We’ve had teachers who have been choked, teachers with concussions,” KEA President Christie Padilla said.

Assaults are nothing new but Padilla says the problem is getting worse with more violent outbursts in elementary schools, prompting teachers to evacuate their classrooms.

“We are seeing much more earlier ages than in the past,” Padilla said.

Teachers say the problem isn’t just happening with special needs kids.

”These kids have very rough family lives and they come to school and they are very very sensitive to redirection,” teacher Dave Bohn said.

Teachers want the district to provide more behavioral interventionists, counselors and support staff to help all teachers with troubled kids.

“Let’s look at the school who are most in need and impacted and put the resources there,” Padilla said.

The teacher’s union says their discussions with the district for the past 18 months on this have gone nowhere.

“Because we are in the middle of contract negotiations, I am unable to respond to specifics,” Kent School District spokesperson Chris Loftis said.

The district says they are listening to their teachers.

“Schools should be safe and we are working our absolute best,” Loftis said.

“We don’t believe anything is going to be done soon,” Padilla said.

Padilla says every time a violent outburst happens, it not only disrupts the other students but it’s a struggle for the teacher moving forward.

It’s a crisis that has the union president emotional.

“They love their kids; they are not going to give up,” Padilla said.