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Verbal Abuse of Children in Schools

June 30, 2022 Cheryl Wozny

Verbal abuse can rear its ugly head anywhere to anyone, including children in a school setting. Unfortunately, it can be more than a child's peers who use name-calling or teasing to get the attention they want. In some situations, the trusted adults in the classroom who receive payment to guide our children and help them learn are the ones throwing around insults and demeaning kids. Verbal abuse can happen at school.

Unfortunately, when we are in the middle of a verbally abusive situation, many of us will not react, myself included. Knowing what I know now, I feel awful looking back at instances I know were abusive to children. 

Watching the Verbal Abuse at School from the Sidelines 

While in elementary school, one of my teachers decided to tell us a story about a child he saw on his drive from work. His story poked fun at a boy who was having fun on his own, pretending to play the guitar as he walked home from school. As this teacher described this child's antics and made his actions seem ridiculous, the classroom snickered and began to laugh more and more. 

However, in the end, this teacher singled out a boy in the classroom as the one in his story. This negative attention humiliated this child as I sat there looking on, feeling awful for him. He did not do anything wrong. He was using his imagination and making his walk after school a little more interesting. After the teacher finished this story, many classmates continued the badgering and teasing.  

Although this situation happened many years ago, this boy was a friend of mine, and I remember talking to him later and making a statement that Mr. So-and-So is a real jerk. 

I Failed to Protect My Child from Verbal Abuse at School

Another instance that comes to mind happened to one of my children. My child came home from school with the tale of how a teacher was verbally abusive by demeaning and insulting them. Unfortunately, I did not handle the situation as I should have. My child came to me with a problem with their teacher's behavior, and I ended up dismissing their concerns and minimizing their feelings. 

I am unsure why I took this approach and feel awful for thinking it was not a big deal at the time. However, this incident mattered to my child, and I failed to support them. 

No One Is Immune 

Although teachers have specialized training and education to help and guide children, it does not always happen that way. No one is perfect, and sadly, no child is immune to verbal abuse at school. It can happen from teachers, learning assistants, custodians, or even parents on the school grounds. 

We must do better for the next generation. If you know a child with a verbal abuse story, take their concerns to heart. Listen to them and help them by providing support. I wish I could have supported my friend and child when I should have. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2022, June 30). Verbal Abuse of Children in Schools , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 12 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2022/6/verbal-abuse-of-children-in-schools



Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

Anonymous
March, 9 2024 at 12:49 pm

As a ninth grader, I've moved on from this, but I still do think about it every once in a while.
When I was in Grade 8, I was in a friend triangle with two boys (I'm a girl). Friend A was in the same grade as me. Let's call Friend A Jack. Friend B was in grade 6. Let's call him Donald.
At break time, I decided to hang out with some of my other friends because I felt like I was being too clingy to Jack and Donald. Jack and Donald walk off alone.
At the end of break time, they come back laughing their heads off. (Well, Donald seemed a bit weirded out). Of course, I asked them what was so funny. Donald told me that Jack made a joke that Jack and I had had sex and that's why Donald existed. I was horrified. I didn't talk to Jack for the rest of the day. That evening, Jack texted me, saying he was sorry. I said that I didn't feel safe being around someone that thought that was funny. He said, quote, "I'm not a rapist." He turned the conversation around and made me look like I was taking it too seriously, and me being (more) naive (than I am today), I brushed it off. Nothing like that has happened again (so far). We're still friends, but he's basically started saying I'm not a good enough friend for him. Someone please help, do I report this? How do I report this?

March, 16 2024 at 6:03 pm

Hello, I am Cheryl Wozny, current author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry that you've experienced this at school. No one should be the target of hurtful comments or have their feelings dismissed. You are entitled to feel safe and respected by friends and other students while at school. I encourage you to reach out to your guidance counselor or a student liaison if you have one available at your school. It's important to remember that your feelings are valid, and no one should make you think otherwise.

Leslie Gavel
July, 4 2022 at 4:55 pm

I really appreciated this article. I find this topic to be taboo. I think it’s hard to acknowledge how widespread the problem is. Students are so often blamed for acting out at school when it’s a relationship problem with the teacher. I wrote a book called dropout: how school is failing our know kids and what we can do about it. I call attention to bullying by teachers and administrators. Thanks for writing this!

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