TUALATIN, Ore. — More than 100 teachers and parents gathered in Tualatin Wednesday night to talk about disruptive behaviors in classrooms across Oregon.
The Tigard-Tualatin Education Association event comes just days after our "Classrooms in Crisis" investigation into an increase in these sometimes violent incidents in schools.
"It sounded very familiar," Scott Herron, president of the TTEA, said about KGW's in-depth report.
Teachers broke off into small groups inside Tualatin High School to talk about the problem plaguing classrooms and come up with possible solutions.
"The violent outbursts, the swearing at teachers, the absolutely falling apart in the classroom and then no kind of support," said Tualatin High School Spanish teacher Robin Bailey. "We're seeing kids in crisis and we're not seeing any sort of help."
Bailey's colleague, Diane Leebrick, says teachers need more support.
"The kids are in crisis, they need some place to go, they need someone to guide them in crisis," said Leebrick. "When we don't have help the teacher is supposed to be the counselor, social worker, time out person, fix this problem and we just cannot do it," said Leebrick.
Herron worries some longtime teachers may leave a career they love.
"I have more teachers in their 27, 28, 29th year who are talking about leaving the profession because they cannot function in this profession anymore," said Herron.
The educators brainstormed and then presented ways they believe districts can handle these disruptive incidents.
The groups suggested:
- Focusing on a child's social and emotional health.
- Offering wrap-around services, which include supporting the student in the schooling and home environment.
- Smaller class sizes.
- Permanent, well paying, trained support staff to help teachers every day.
- Re-examining the district's inclusion policy.
Many of these ideas were also brought up in the Oregon Education Association statewide report "A Crisis of Disrupted Learning" released Tuesday.
An OEA representative ran the forum Wednesday.
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.
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