WALDORF, Md. — A survey by the American Psychological Association found that threats and physical attacks by students have increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey found a third of teachers reported being harassed or threatened by students during the pandemic and nearly 50% of teachers say they plan or want to quit or transfer jobs.
An earlier US Department of Education study found that nearly 6% of teachers surveyed reported actual physical attacks amounting to 200,000 incidents nationwide.
Sheriff's investigators and school authorities are investigating after a staff member was injured when a fight broke out Tuesday afternoon at Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf, according to the Charles County Sheriff's Department.
A Maryland State Police medivac helicopter was called as "a precautionary measure" to take the staff member to a hospital for treatment, according to a letter from Thomas Stone High School Principal Shanif Pearl.
Officials have not given any update on the staff member's condition.
However, first responders reported in radio conversations in preparation for the flight that the staff member is a 40-year-old woman who struck her head on a locker while school officials attempted to break up the fight.
According to the principal and the Charles County Sheriff’s Department, the fight started after a student threw a book at a classmate, hitting them in the head. The student who was hit then reportedly texted some of his friends who come to the classroom and confronted the person who threw the book.
"Desks and chairs were being thrown in the classroom and at students who were trying to leave the room,” the Sheriff's Department reported in a written statement.
School staff and a school resource officer were eventually able to break the fight up.
Deputies say an investigation is ongoing and some students could face assault charges after the State's Attorney reviews the case. In the meantime, no arrests have been announced. School authorities say they are dealing with the students involved according to the County’s Student Code of Conduct rules.