Pennsylvania teachers are sharing horror stories of getting beaten up by pupils as young as 6 — and begging their school district for help.
“I have been kicked, punched, hit, scratched. I’ve had a student physically restraining me in front of my other students… And many of the personal things that I have bought for my classroom have been broken or destroyed,” first-grade teacher Amanda Sheaffer told the Harrisburg school board at its meeting Monday, according to the news website PennLive.
“Many minutes are spent each day dealing with violence that is happening in the classroom,” Sheaffer said. “How am I supposed to have a safe, nurturing learning environment when this behavior happens?”
Sheaffer was one of about a half-dozen elementary school teachers and several parents who implored the board for help in dealing with increasingly violent and troubled kids.
“We aren’t complaining. We are here begging for help so that we can help those students,” said Harrisburg Education Association president Jody Barksdale.
Barksdale represents some of the teachers asking for help and brought similar concerns to the board in January, according to PennLive.
At least 45 teachers resigned between July and October because of kids terrorizing their classrooms, Barksdale claimed, according to Fox 43.
“Teachers and students are being hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, cussed at … and observing other students flip over tables, desks, and chairs,” she said. “Teachers have had to take the rest of their class into the hallway to protect them from these outbursts. Not much has changed since last January.”
Barksdale asked that a task force is established to address violence in the schools and for a focus on consistency when handling student discipline issues.
Teachers should also be trained in how to handle students with mental health issues or those battling trauma at home, she said.
Harrisburg schools Superintendent Sybil Knight-Burney agreed Monday to the formation of a task force and said the district is working to address the behavioral issues of some pupils.
“Unfortunately, some of these things take time,” Knight-Burney said. “They take time for training; they take time for investigation, and making sure that we are doing the right thing for our students.”
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