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Teachers plan to demonstrate at Thursday's school board meeting; fearing for their safety in school

1 year 4 months 4 hours ago Wednesday, March 15 2023 Mar 15, 2023 March 15, 2023 10:39 PM March 15, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Cellphone videos recorded by students capture terrifying moments when fights break out at several schools in East Baton Rouge Parish. The violence is seemingly everywhere. Teachers and staff members have had enough.

"I think it's heartbreaking. Discipline and safety at schools is a problem," Valencea Johnson told WBRZ.

Johnson works as a librarian at an East Baton Rouge Parish public school. She is also the president of the East Baton Rouge Parish Association of Educators.

The organization says they will join another group, Step Up Louisiana, and speak up about safety in Thursday's EBR School Board meeting. The two groups are acting as a voice for teachers and faculty members who are fed up with violence on school grounds. 

Johnson says the school fights are scary and downright overwhelming for educators who now have to protect students, as well as teach.

"It puts a drain on all of those people who are in the trenches every day because you are doing your job and someone else's, every day," Johnson said.

Some teachers find themselves not knowing what to do when a fight breaks out, especially if a kid is getting beaten badly.

"You are really technically not supposed to break up the fight, but if you see this child getting pummeled, you might feel inclined too."

Johnson says the best way to make sure schools are safer is more funding to increase security. But not just on the perimeter of the school.

"We also need funding to deal with the inside of the school as well."

The East Baton Rouge School System did reach out to WBRZ in a statement about what they plan to do to keep kids and staff safe.

Many of the challenges we face as a school district are similar to those within our entire district landscape and include a spectrum of transparent and circumstantial factors beyond our control. That is why EBRPSS is partnering with external agencies and institutions to support the diverse needs of students and families to properly address social behaviors and constructs that result in the disciplinary incidents involving our city's youth, not only in schools but the larger community as well.”

Johnson notes, she believes the school system will make the changes needed. The school board also says there will be items at Thursday's meeting that address school safety.

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