Amid reports of rampant fighting at EBR schools, teacher tells WBRZ they're scared to teach
BATON ROUGE - An East Baton Rouge Parish School System teacher fears that teachers and students haven't been given the resources they need to succeed and it's resulting in unrest.
It's the violence, the disrespect, and the lack of support from leadership that worries this teacher who does not want to be identified. They told 2 On Your Side's Brittany Weiss that they feel scared when they go to work.
"I feel like I can't protect myself nor my kids that I teach. It's sitting in the car not wanting to get out, like walking the Green Mile."
Fights like the one that happened on Wednesday at EBR Readiness Alternative School are not isolated to one location. Law enforcement said as many as 200 students and parents were involved in the massive fight ending with at least 10 arrests.
Other than that, the teacher said at their school they see three to four altercations a day, while some schools have more and others less. The violence is captured on cell phones and posted to social media, sometimes on district-issued Chromebooks. What's really concerning to this person is the lack of security on and around campus. They report unlocked doors allowing anyone to enter and leave campus and security officers that aren't there for the full school day, sometimes just a few hours a day.
"Security officers are very limited. They're not at most schools five days a week. I don't care what they tell you," they said.
One of the most jarring incidents this person has witnessed recently was a teacher getting trampled as students ran into her classroom to film a fight.
"They're threatening teachers, punching teachers, calling teachers racist names," the teacher said.
Some educators say at-home learning during the pandemic likely escalated these situations and there are several students that resort to fighting as opposed to working things out. The stress is so much, educators are leaving at a rapid rate. So far this school year, almost 500 teachers and other employees have either resigned or have been fired. At one school, at least 22 teachers have left so far this school year.
As a result, schools are merging classes and teachers are teaching during their planning period.
The teacher who sat down with 2 On Your Side says it boils down to leadership and that things might change if leadership did. Superintendent Sito Narcisse spoke about looking at policies after Wednesday's large fight. This teacher fears those policies won't fix the issues, like students who are struggling to make up for time lost during virtual learning.
"First of all, the leadership needs to accept that there's a problem, get into the schools and go in there and assist the schools... show their faces there," they said.
Until there's an effort the educator says changes won't happen, but they'll keep teaching because they care about the students they teach.
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