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Classrooms in Crisis: Overwhelming response from teachers

More than 150 emails came into callcristin@kgw.com, not to mention also teachers, parents, and school employees who reached out on social media channels — the number is still growing.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Since the airing of Classrooms in Crisis, hundreds of teachers have reached out to KGW investigative reporter Cristin Severance expressing their gratitude for light being shed on this issue.

The investigation delved into the verbal, physical, and sometimes violent, outbursts from students happening all over Oregon at an alarming rate. Cristin spoke with teachers who said they felt helpless and unsure whether they could provide a safe and productive learning environment and lawmakers who are trying to change policies to help.

More than 150 emails came into callcristin@kgw.com alone, not to mention teachers, parents, and school employees who reached out on social media channels — the number is still growing.

“Thank you for giving these hardworking teachers a voice,” emailed Maria.

Dustin emailed, “Your segment was dead on.”

“I was tearing up watching this,” a viewer wrote.

RELATED | Classrooms in Crisis: Verbal, physical, sometimes violent outbursts plaguing Oregon classrooms

“I personally am not trained to handle these outbursts,” said another.

Another writes, teachers are so powerless it’s like “letting the prisoners run the prison”.

“My classroom has been destroyed multiple times by the one defiant child who is left there while I heard the other students to safety,” writes another teacher. 

RELATED| Classrooms in Crisis: New statewide report calls student outbursts community issue

And the stories keep pouring in.

A paraprofessional wrote that one of their students “started wetting his pants again as a result of a child in class.”

Cristin is dedicated to continuing to cover these stories. If you have a story or concern you’d like to share, email callcristin@kgw.com

KGW has interviewed dozens of teachers and school administrators about an increase in verbal, physical and sometimes violent disruptions in Oregon and Southwest Washington classrooms. We’ve received emails from hundreds of additional teachers who tell similar stories. Many teachers say they don’t have the proper training, support or resources to deal with this disruptive behavior. The teachers don’t blame the kids, pointing out that many students have suffered trauma in their lives; however, they say the current law makes it difficult to handle these incidents effectively. In many cases they are forced to clear all other students out of a classroom until a disruptive student can calm down. We will continue to tell these stories and push for solutions from lawmakers and school officials. 

Do you have a comment or idea related to our Classrooms in Crisis coverage? Please email callcristin@kgw.com

Please share this link to our Classrooms in Crisis section to keep the conversation going. https://www.kgw.com/classrooms-in-crisis

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