To investigate the relation between schools' resource levels (i.e., annual per student expenditures), school resource allocations, and physical assault (PA) against Minnesota's educators, a study was conducted from the two-phase Minnesota Educators' Study (MES) that incorporated school-level fiscal and demographic data from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The MES examined a randomly selected cohort of employed, state-licensed kindergarten through grade 12 educators. From mailed questionnaires, response rates for both Phase I (comprehensive data collection on violent events) and Phase II (case-control) were 84%. Cases experienced a work-related PA event in the previous 12 months; controls reported no assaults. Based on the school in which they worked the most time and available MDE school-level data, together with MES questionnaire data, analyses were conducted on 238 cases and 640 controls. Multivariate analyses, using directed acyclic graphs to guide selection of confounders, suggested that increased spending (i.e. resources) was associated with decreased risk of PA. Analyses further suggested that the highest quartiles of resource allocations, compared with the lowest quartiles (referents), were associated with decreased risks of PA for: district level administration; regular instruction; special education; student activities and athletics; and pupil support services expenditures. Associations between increased resource allocations to student activities expenditures and decreased risks of PA were the strongest. For example, an allocation greater than 5% of the total annual per student expenditure to student activities programming (referent, less than 0.04%) was associated with a decreased risk of PA (OR = 0.30, 95% CI: 0.12, 0.77). Results suggested that allocations of school resources (i.e., expenditures) to key program areas such as student athletics and extracurricular activities may reduce risk of work-related PA against educators. Research to further explore the nature of the relations between disparities in school resources and spending, resource allocations, and PA will be important to the continued development of relevant prevention strategies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This manuscript was awarded a “Co-Best Student Paper Award” from the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section of the American Public Health Association, 2008. The award was sponsored, in part, by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. Contents of this effort are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the American Public Health Association or the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety.
Support for this research was provided by the: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services (R01 OH007816); Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH Training Grant T42 OH008434); Center for Violence Prevention and Control, University of Minnesota; and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, University of Minnesota. Additional gratitude is offered to the entire research team, as well as our advisory board of educators and school administrators, each of whom offered invaluable insights into this research effort. This study would not have been possible without the contributions of thousands of dedicated K-12 educators working Minnesota's schools. These committed individuals deserve to work in safe environments.
- Occupational violence
- Physical assault
- Work-related injury