Teachers’ union president: Students are ‘perhaps more violent than they’ve ever been’

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BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Carmen Ward, president of the Alachua County Education Association (ACEA), spoke to the Alachua County School Board last night about the ‘crisis’ of violence in schools, saying there have been 44 reports of violence against school district employees (with 1-3 attacks against adults per report) in 28 school weeks. She said employees “get off the bus, walk out of the classroom, leave their beloved careers as educators because they don’t feel safe on the job.”

Ward said the increase in violent incidents in schools is one of the reasons why there is a shortage of teachers and bus drivers: “We have a discipline problem, not just in the county of Alachua. It’s statewide. We have situations where schools are not safe.

She said the district has a good code of conduct, “but it has to be enforced. We must have zero tolerance for violence and support for traumatized students. We need enough places and enough resources to support students who may be more violent than they have ever been.

She continued: “As adults, as educators, the most loving and kind thing we can do for students is teach them that their behaviors have consequences and let them experience the consequences. of their behaviors so that they do not perpetuate this in their lives. life after school… It’s a crisis; we have a problem with violence, and we want our schools to be safe, not only for the employees but also for the students, because if there is so much violence against employees, there is also violence in the schools towards other students, on an even higher level.”

The recent CAAS survey of district employees elicited a number of comments about discipline, including:

  • “We need strategies for students who cause daily damage.”
  • “Make students responsible for their actions.
  • “Behavioral issues; not test, test, test”
  • “New Student Discipline Enforcement Policies; adhere to these policies, even if they get bad press.
  • “Stop worrying about the race of misbehaving students and treat all students fairly.”
  • “Better discipline. Students who don’t care to be in school shouldn’t harm students who want an education.
  • “Expectations for student conduct must be clearly defined. Students will not respect the learning environment if we don’t.
  • “Remove aggressive students from campus.”
  • “Be more consistent with discipline. The students get out of control.
  • “Bring back appropriate punishments for discipline.”
  • “Disciplinary procedures and policies, long-term consistency.”
  • “No more suspensions.”

Many respondents simply wrote: “Better discipline”.


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