While teacher bullying is recognized as serious and harmful, there are no statistics on either teachers bullying others or teachers being bullied. However, according to an article, a high percentage of teachers admit that they bully their students.
Comprehensive research carried out in the UK found that teaching was one of the occupations at highest risk from bullying:
15.5% of teachers stating they were currently being bullied
35.4% saying they had been bullied over the last five years.
There are complex issues with reporting bullying by teachers, not only for children, but also parents. By means of their position of power over the child, power that enables them to impact the child's present and future, children and parents are reluctant to report. There are specific signs that parents should watch for as their child is unlikely to disclose that the teacher is in fact the bully.
Furthermore, a teacher who bullies may present as a Jekyll and Hyde figure: they are often celebrated and popular so their abuse can go on for long periods of time undetected. Research on teachers in classrooms is lacking and it is unclear how much these activities go undetected or rewarded by teachers in the classroom. For coaches teaching a sport, it can be seen that adults are often rewarded for bullying conduct that would never be tolerated or condoned if done by a child.
Parsons identifies teacher bullying as often being part of a wider bullying culture within a school, with a complex web of dynamics such as:
In investigating teacher bullying, it is important to differentiate a teacher or coach who is demanding versus one who is demeaning. So "yelling" for instance can be highly productive and motivating, but if it involves belittling and is laced with putdowns, personal attacks, and insults, it becomes abusive. Bullying by teachers can take many forms in order to harass and intimidate including:
Swearing, or yelling, especially in close proximity to the child
Using homophobic, sexist, racial slurs, or direct personal attacks, comments targeting a child's disability or difference
Ignoring or shunning
Expressing disgust at the child through gestures or facial expressions
Muttering obscenities so only the targeted child or children hear
Hypocrisy (ex: telling a student not to say "well" despite using the same word while communicating)
Undermining them by over-ruling their decisions and views
In some cases, teachers are ignored and isolated by colleagues in the staffroom or turned down for promotion or training courses (see silent treatment). Other times, teachers are ostracized as whistleblowers when they report to administrators on students' reports of bullying being done by their colleagues.
In April 2012, Stuart Chaifetz, a father of an autistic boy, released a video on YouTube providing evidence that his son was allegedly the subject of emotional abuse at the hands of his teacher and aide at Horace Mann Elementary School, in the Cherry Hill Public Schools district. The evidence was secured when Chaifetz wired his son with a microphone before sending him to school. When he listened to the audio recording, according to one news report, "Chaifetz says he caught his son's teachers gossiping, talking about alcohol and violently yelling at students. He took the audio to the Cherry Hill School District, where officials fired one of the teachers involved after hearing the tape. Chaifetz's son was relocated to a new school, where Chaifetz says he is doing well." However, it appears that students with learning disabilities may be especially at risk for teacher bullying.
In June 2014, Britain proposed the "Cinderella Law" which would put emotional abuse in the Criminal Code.
British girls' comics often featured bully teachers and principals in serials and regular strips. Examples can be found in Wee Sue,The Girls of Liberty Lodge and The Four Friends at Spartan School, (Tammy), and Hard Times for Helen (Judy). Patsy on the Warpath (June) reversed the trend to show a teacher being bullied by toughs in her class.
iCarly: there have been episodes, like "IHave My Principals", where Ms. Francine Briggs and Mr. Howard clearly bully students, including the main characters, one of whom, Sam, is a bully herself. Mr. Devlin and Lauren Ackerman also bullied the students.
Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Mr. Sweeney, a science teacher, appears to be evil until the third season, where he appears to reform himself to the point of saving his students from Vice Principal Harvey Crubbs, who also bullies the students, mainly the main characters.