A Student Attacked A Teacher & Tried To Snap Her Neck — Now She's Fighting To Keep Her License

She feared for her life and nothing was being done to discipline the student or offer support.

exhausted woman sitting at desk in front of laptop with her hands on her face Inside Creative House / Shutterstock

A special education teacher named Rachel shared that she was scared about potentially losing her teaching license after a violent interaction happened between her and a student.

In a TikTok video, Rachel revealed that she ended up having to quit a teaching position during the middle of the school year because she feared for her life and wasn't seeing any resolution from the school administrators about a student who had threatened her life.


Rachel had to fight to keep her teaching license after a student attacked her and tried to snap her neck.

In Rachel's video, she filmed herself getting ready to attend a board meeting where the future of her teaching career would be determined. The reason for this was that Rachel had been violently attacked by a student who tried to kill her.

She explained that she'd been working as a special education teacher for around three years before quitting her job in April 2023. During the last school year, she worked in a social communications unit with students who had autism and ED (emotional disturbance) and had a class with one student because his one-on-one aide was absent.




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"Even though I was the teacher of the unit with absences that happened, that's where I stepped in. But it's not typically my job to be a one-on-one," she said.

Rachel was in the class with this particular student after a state testing day, and she was preparing some work while the student stood behind her. Suddenly, the student reached around and placed his hands on her head and underneath her chin, trying to snap her neck. She managed to get away but turned around to ask him why he'd done that, and he bluntly responded that he'd been trying to kill her.


When she asked if he knew what would've happened if he'd done it harder, he answered that she would've died. In shock, Rachel noticed that no other teacher in the room had seen it happen, and with no other options, took the student to the office to report the incident.

"I'm in tears and an immense amount of pain at this time," Rachel recalled. "I can't turn my neck. I have to turn my whole body to be able to look around or speak to anybody."

When the school admin in charge of behaviors asked the student what happened, the student reiterated what he'd said to Rachel: that he'd tried to snap her neck and kill her. That was pretty much the last day she worked due to her injury.

She returned the following school year and admitted that every day was a 'struggle.'

After August 2023, Rachel returned to the school to continue working. She was still in immense pain from her injuries and had trouble moving her neck and body. To make matters worse, the student who'd tried to kill her was still in the building.


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A Student Attacked A Teacher And Now She's Fighting To Keep Her LicensePhoto: andresr / Canva Pro

She wasn't his teacher anymore and had taken a different position at the school that wasn't in the same unit she was in the previous year. "I just try to take on this new role and new set of kids, and try to do my job," she said.


However, while working one day, the same student who attacked her came up to her again. Scared for her life, Rachel explained that the fear only intensified because after both encounters, no disciplinary actions had been taken against the student and no one was offering help on how she should handle what was happening.

After the second encounter, Rachel quit because she refused to put herself in any harm's way once more. "Today is the board meeting where they approve my resignation," she said. "I'm gonna go and figure out if they're gonna say or do anything about my license because I quit mid-contract." 

The predicament that Rachel was in is something that many educators have recently addressed: the right to demand having unsafe students be removed from classrooms.

In a TikTok video, an education expert named Justin Baeder explained that educators should start refusing to teach students deemed unsafe.



"I think at some point, as educators, we have to stand up and demand the right to refuse service and say, 'You know what, if there is not a placement for that child, it's because I'm the cheapest person to inconvenience. It's because somebody is willing to dump the problem on me and as long as I'm willing to go along with that, that solves the problem for other people.'"


For how much teachers suffer and work tirelessly to ensure that their classrooms are safe and protective environments for their students, it's disheartening that Rachel is now being reprimanded for something that was completely out of her control, instead of being offered support by school admin once they learned that she was physically attacked by a student.

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After attending the board meeting, Rachel learned that she would be able to keep her teaching license.

In a follow-up video, Rachel responded to the flurry of comments she got from her first video, asking her to elaborate on certain details. She explained that in her unit, she worked with eight students and two paraprofessionals. 

She described the unit as being a "social communications unit," where students were academically competing with their peers and were in general education settings, meaning there were a total of 30 other students in the classroom. This was because of a major teaching shortage happening across the country. Because of the shortage, it was unlikely that she would assigned one-on-one with a student.




She shared that she worked in a middle school and her unit had all three grades in it. The student who attacked her had autism and was partially nonverbal. She recalled that he would speak very rarely, but the day he attacked her, it was the first time that he was clear and loud with his intentions.

Since she didn't have any money, she couldn't hire a lawyer to take legal action against the school and district, but she also admitted that she didn't want to take legal action even if she could. "It's just not me," she said.


"In that district, we had zero assault language in any contract across the district. Nobody really knew how to help because nothing like this had ever happened and that's where I was left to figure things out on my own," Rachel revealed. 

Despite everything that happened, Rachel was able to keep her teaching license, but the fact that she was even worried about it being revoked says everything about the public school system. It's no wonder that teachers are leaving the field in record numbers — because they can't seem to find anything about it that makes it worth their constant time and energy.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.