We recently talked about the need for a fresh look at sentencing guidelines for underage offenders and some disturbing trends involving violent crime around the nation. At the time I was focusing on suspects in the 14 to 17 age range, but a bit more research shows that we have problems in some of our schools starting far earlier. This year the state of Pennsylvania has been hit particularly hard, with nearly four dozen teachers quitting in the Harrisburg school district alone, many complaining that violence by students in the classrooms is out of control. The teachers association is now demanding answers. (Daily Mail)
Dozens of teachers have quit their jobs in Pennsylvania’s capital city amid a wave of violence from students as early as the first grade, it has emerged.
The Harrisburg Education Association (HEA) said that at least 45 teachers resigned between July and October, and more have followed since. Those who remain are now demanding more help from administrators.
‘I have been kicked, punched, hit, scratched. I’ve had a student physically restraining me in front of my other students,’ first-grade teacher Amanda Shaeffer told board members, according to Penn Live.
The situation sounds dire. Teachers described incidents where both they and some of their students were being, “hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, cussed at.” Others described tables and desks being flipped over, rampant property damage and one teacher even had her finger intentionally broken by one of her students. And it was a second-grade child.
For their part, the school district responded by expressing their disappointment that the teachers had gone public. Part of their official statement reads, “We find it unfortunate that our teacher organization has chosen to engage in public discourse opposed to factual and substantive discussions.” They do go on to admit the “challenges” involved with urban education, but it sounds like better security isn’t an option for them right now.
Unfortunately, Harrisburg is hardly unique in this problem. In Maryland, dozens of teachers from Baltimore County showed up this week to protest the same problem. Five teachers have been taken out of the schools there with injuries caused by students and one of them is currently still on medical leave after suffering a concussion.
There seems to be a fairly obvious but politically unpopular solution available, assuming the resources can be found to implement it. If we had more police officers inside the schools in high crime areas, two purposes could be served. First, they would be available for immediate response in the event of a mass shooting or terror attack. But clearly, they also need to be watching out for criminal elements among the students in addition to protecting them from outside threats. The teachers can’t be expected to act as makeshift law enforcement agents against students who outnumber them by a factor of twenty to one or more and are willing to engage in violent behavior. But such suggestions are frequently met with complaints about “militarization” of the schools, racial profiling and the rest of the usual protests we hear.
Sadly, the real solution should be better parenting. Children coming from homes with proper discipline and sound moral values are far less likely to engage in such behavior, as well as being far more likely to succeed. Sadly, that ship seems to have sailed in too many of our inner cities.