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Fed up EBR teachers demand something be done about constant fighting

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BATON ROUGE - After a lengthy school board meeting Thursday, the board passed one item to address school safety, but even board members called it a band-aid solution. 

Some board members acknowledged that it won't stop violence in schools overnight because the issue is so complex.

At the school board meeting, only 20 minutes were used to discuss the issue. Some at the meeting told WBRZ that is not nearly enough time to talk about an issue like school violence.

Meanwhile, educators held a demonstration outside of the school board before the meeting to demand change, as fights at school seem constant.

Craig Bilbrew is a teacher at an EBR school, and he says teachers are overwhelmed.

"There are some jobs that you choose that you know when you leave, you might not come home. I don't think being an educator is one of those jobs," Bilbrew told WBRZ.

Bilbrew says the teachers are tired, and the people who suffer because of that are students who want to learn.

"What are we doing for those students who are ready to learn, but are unable to learn because the teachers are under stress?" Bilbrew said.

Even parents like Jaime Triplett say she is worried about the safety of her child.

"I don't feel like the teacher has enough control or power to protect my child from kids who are behavior problems," Triplett said.

Ben Lemoine is the director of communications for the EBR School System. He says the answer to the problem is complex, and it will take everyone's efforts to fix it.

"Everyone should be at the table to come up with pragmatic solutions that meet everyone's needs," Lemoine said. "We need to engage law enforcement and the mayor's office and the chamber of commerce, all of the stakeholders involved, to find a solution."

He also notes that some of the issues you see on videos likely stemmed from conflicts outside the classroom setting.

"For us to figure out the why, and the how did this happen, and how did it come to this — we need to get everyone to the table," Lemoine said.

But teachers are fed up with the school board's inaction, with some of them considering leaving the school district if significant change doesn't happen quickly.

"If the disciplinary problems are not under control, they will look to leave East Baton Rouge Parish and find employment elsewhere," Bilbrew said.

While there are very few concrete details on what measures will be taken, the board says there will need to be a bigger, collective effort going forward to stop school violence.

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