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GEK Attorneys Discuss the Impact of Violence on Teachers

A teacher’s job is to serve on the front lines of our children’s education. However, they also often find themselves standing, unwittingly, on the front lines of danger. Ask any random group of educators in Los Angeles and you will hear the stories of what they’ve been victim to—assaults, shootings, lockdowns, stabbings, property damage, threats of injury and, even, death. You name it, they’ve experienced it. And, it takes a huge toll on the mind, body and spirit.

That assault on the body and the psyche is precisely what attorneys Larry Goldstein and David Goldstein, partners in the law firm of Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP, discussed during their workshop, “Violence Invades Our Schools—the Impact on Teachers,” at the recent United Teachers Los Angeles Leadership Conference.   

A fitting topic considering the 2011 conference theme—“This is the Moment, Now is the Time.”  Nods of acknowledgement from the attendees as the workshop progressed from broad strokes to specific incidences of violence were clear indications that these educators are ready for change…now.

“Violence against teachers is a huge problem in our schools, causing teachers to suffer greatly,” said Larry Goldstein as he shared the war stories of those teachers he has represented. These cases included everything from verbal threats to a lockdown situation in which a student brought a hand grenade to school. And, to make matters worse, he explained, “If you report a student to the administration, you are often seen as the problem.”

It’s not just the lack of administrative backing that teachers find problematic; sometimes the lack of parental support for teachers is also evident. “Parents don’t want to hear the problem, they want a remedy; I’m not licensed to provide a remedy,” said one workshop participant.

There’s no remedy for the fact that, “Anything in the classroom can be a weapon—a shoe, a chair, a pencil—it doesn’t have to be a gun or a knife,” said David Goldstein. “And, you need to know their rights when it comes to acts of violence.

“What many teachers don’t understand is that an injury doesn’t only have to be the result of a specific event. Often times there is cumulative trauma, such as high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal issues…, due to ongoing violence or the threat of violence. These, too, qualify as industrial injuries.”

In addition to explaining the need to file a Workers’ Compensation claim form and notify a supervisor in a timely manner, the GEK attorneys outlined the following forms that should be completed within 24 hours of a specific incident:

  • Police Report
  • Act of Violence Report
  • Incident Report

“Our goal is help teachers fight for justice  in terms of receiving the full range of Workers’ Compensation benefits they are entitled to, and to fight against the injustice of an administrative system that doesn’t seem to be on their side,” said Larry Goldstein.

If you or someone you  know is interested in a free consultation with an attorney about a Personal Injury or Workers' Compensation case, please contact us at (213) 739-7000.


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