“…Nothing is being done,“ Oklahoma teachers sound off on behavior problems

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OKLAHOMA -- Teachers in the state's largest school district are sounding off about bad behavior and distractions in school.

A local teachers union released the results of a survey taken by one-third of Oklahoma City instructors.

There are 36 pages of comments from this survey.

“It was, in a way, pretty sad reading the comments,” said Ed Allen.

Teachers Union President Ed Allen says results of a recent survey confirm what many have been saying all along.

Many of our schools are in tough shape. They are not safe and orderly. Teachers don’t feel supported when it comes to student discipline. Morale is about as low as it can get.

And teachers say the distractions are impacting all students. One teacher commenting, “Students are yelling, cursing, hitting and screaming at teachers and nothing is being done. “

“School environment is unsafe. I do not feel safe. Teachers are afraid. Students have little or no consequences for behavior that is often outright violent toward students and staff. Please help us!”

Allen says the problem starts at the top.

“Part of it is we have new leadership, new superintendent, and he sent the message out…he likes to deny it, but principals all over the district are saying my hands are tied. I can’t help you on student discipline. So many of the teachers have given up writing referrals,” said Allen.

That means students with behavior problems stay in the classroom. One teacher commented on that saying…

“I don't think I should have a child who has assaulted me 3 times in my classroom.”

Another saying…

“Good students are now suffering because of the abuse and issues plaguing these classrooms.”

“A teacher was threatened with a drive-by shooting and nothing happened to the student despite multiple people alerting administration.”

Many teachers would like the option of bringing back in-school suspensions.

“Thirty-eight percent of the respondents said that they had experienced student-on-student violence and 10 percent say they have been assaulted. That is completely unacceptable. And our district has a policy of ignore and deny,” said Allen.

It's a mindset Allen says is making it harder to keep teachers in the classroom. More comments from the survey reflect that with teachers saying...

“The pay is not worth it and the district officials are really out of touch with what is going on each day. Teachers need some relief.”

“If things don't change significantly, this will be my last year teaching.”

Allen says there are several possible solutions…but one is to get the right people in place.

“We’d probably have to hire 50 to 100 counselors and social workers to really address this,” he said.

Superintendent Neu made the following statement in regards to student discipline.

"The conditions described in the AFT-OKC teacher survey are not new or uniform across the district. Improving student behavior, support for teachers and reducing suspensions will require changes in the entire district and those changes must start with the adults."

We do know the district is currently revising its code of conduct.

Ed Allen hopes they will take the results and comments from this survey into consideration when making those changes.


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