Watch CBS News

Former Teacher Speaks Out About School Violence

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Recent school violence incidents against educators have prompted a former teacher to take action.

Debbie York suffered a career-ending injury in 2009 after a student became violent in her classroom. She's now talking about what happened in hopes of helping others. York also helped create a bill that's moving forward this legislative session.

"I was a teacher for almost 30 years," York said.

York's last day in the classroom came in 2009 at Countryside Elementary School in Edina. An 85-pound first grader assaulted her.

"This was a really troubled little guy," York said.

One November day she says his behavior escalated. York recalls how she raced to the student as he threw a desk and a chair and bit another child.

"Threw it at me, and the chair missed me, but he didn't, so he body slammed me," York said.

Her recovery required three surgeries. But she says the hardest part was she wasn't able to share information with concerned parents.

"When this happened, I was silenced," York said.

York approached Rep. Jenifer Loon after her assault.

"I decided I needed to step up and do something about it," Loon said.

And now Loon has sponsored House File 3679. If passed, teachers would be notified if there is a student with a history of violent behavior in their classroom. It would allow them to remove a student from the classroom, and creates a victims fund for medical or legal costs.

"Teachers are professionals. They have the judgment and the wisdom to know when a situation just is not safe for themselves and others, and those actions need to be respected," Loon said.

"Doing this, trying to make a difference for other teachers and safety for kids, that's what it's all about for me," York said.

Every year schools provide information to the Department of Education about incidents between students. The bill would require information to also be collected about incidents between students and staff members. York will testify during a hearing in front of the House Education Finance Committee Tuesday afternoon.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.