Our View: Teachers need support dealing with discipline

School leaders like to show off their achievements. Whether it involves receiving a visit from the governor or a person of educational importance, presenting commendations to retiring staff members or breaking ground for a new building, administrators want the world to know. Who can blame them? There is nothing wrong with being proud of accomplishments.

We enjoy giving credit where credit is due. However, we would be remiss if we ignored problems that require immediate attention.

For several years we have heard stories and witnessed disruptive class settings, from elementary levels through high school that prevent learning from taking place.

Administrators tend to look the other way or even deny there is a problem of young people fighting in the classroom because it is unpleasant, but often place the safety of students and teachers in jeopardy.

This past week one public school teacher in the Tri-parish region relayed her story of how a fight broke out among students in her middle school classroom. She called the principal’s office for help. The teacher said it took 27 minutes before anyone responded and even then the reaction was simply a look into the room by an office staffer who then walked away from the scene with no intervention offered.

The issue is simple. Teachers cannot teach if their class time is spent breaking up fights and attempting to instruct students that refuse to learn. Many also fear going public with their concerns, expecting retaliation from superiors if they do.

The teacher who told her story said that by not being able to instruct because of disruptive students – with behavior that results in poor standardized test scores – want-to-be educators are left with negative work performance reviews, and no ability or support in controlling the problem.

The National Center for Education Statistics contends that violent crimes involving students occur in 85 percent of all public schools, representing more than 2 million incidents that were actually reported during a typical school year. It is unknown how many incidents take place that are not reported.

Tri-parish teachers warn us not to assume the problem does not exist locally simply because administrators and school boards are unwilling to take a hard stand and publically address it.

Administrators must become open about student violence in the classroom and actively support their teachers. Once that problem is resolved, our schools will have achieved a major accomplishment of which to be proud and for which they would deserve public recognition.