Teachers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania have had enough with the abuse they are receiving from the students and are now quitting in droves. Several violent eruptions have occurred at Harrisburg public schools and teachers no longer feel safe at their job. Hostile work environment indeed.
The Harrisburg Education Association reported that at least 45 teachers have resigned between July and October of this year. Jody Barksdale, the Association President, mentioned that some more have quit since the end of October.
Teachers have reported being kicked and and hit by students as young as seven years old. Amanda Sheaffer said the first graders are out of control in her classroom.
“I have been hit, I have been kicked, I have been restrained from behind where I’ve been unable to move my arms,” she said. “It really throws off the whole day. I mean, you have an incident happen and you have to do a room clear, get all the students out, and then after that you have to take the time to do the write-up, and you have to make sure security comes and gets the kids.”
Barksdale said the Association is outraged and they are demanding that a united front of teachers, administrators, and parents tackle the problem head on, no pun intended.
The government, surprise surprise, denies anything is wrong. Superintendent Sybil Knight-Burney said the district needs to look at a “different type of support that is needed.”
“We aren’t complaining. We are here begging for help so that we can help those students,” Barksdale said.
She pleaded with the board in January, begging them for change, but says that “not much” has changed since then.
“Teachers and students are being hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, cussed at…. and observing other students flip over tables, desks and chairs,” she said.