DAILYKENN.com -- "Teachers and students are being hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, cussed at.... and observing other students flip over tables, desks and chairs. Teachers have had to take the rest of their class into the hallway top protect them during these outbursts," Barksdale said.
|All-black, segregated, African classroom|
Harrisburg is a majority black city.
52.4% black, 30.7% white, and 18% Hispanic or Latino of various races.
Liberals often complain that blacks suffer from neglect in education opportunities. They tout Brown v Board of Education as a watershed decision that opened opportunities for negro children.
Schools, however, were segregated for a reason: To protect whites and non-black minorities from the violence that seems innate to black communities.
The outcome of forced integration was massive segregation as whites fled to the suburbs, opted for homeschooling, or enrolled in private schools.
White flight (aka, segregation) is made evident by population statistics. In 1950 the city's population peaked at 89,544. The estimated population in 2016 was 48,904. Harrisburg lost over 45 percent of its population.
White flight continues as white teachers refuse to subject themselves to violence in black-majority schools.
The phenomenon of black-on-white violence is not new. When I attended a black-majority high school fifty years ago (1968-1971) black-on-white violence was the norm.
A conundrum persists: The bourgeoisie (white people) are blamed for depriving the proletariat (black people) of equal education opportunities. Yet, when those opportunities are provided, they are neglected by blacks.
From pennlive.com ▼
Harrisburg teachers appeal to district for help with in-classroom, behavioral issues
Harrisburg teachers stopped short Monday night of declaring their workplaces unsafe.
But a growing number of "extraordinary incidents" that cause lesson plans to come to a screeching halt, lead to destruction of property and, all too often, someone getting hurt, is trending up at certain buildings.
"I have been kicked, punched, hit, scratched. I've had a student physically restraining me in front of my other students.... And many of the personal things that i have bought for my classroom have been broken or destroyed," said Amanda Sheaffer, a first-grade teacher in the city.
"Many minutes are spent each day dealing with violence that is happening in the classroom."
"How am I meeting my students' needs with this behavior happening? How am I supposed to have a safe, nurturing learning environment when this behavior happens?," Sheaffer asked board members.
She was one of about a half-dozen classroom teachers and several parents, most representing Melrose and Downey elementary schools, who appealed to the board Monday for swifter and more aggressive steps to deal with a cohort of increasingly troubled kids.
The stories of how bad it can get quickly overshadowed other business at the regularly-scheduled board meeting.
"We aren't complaining. We are here begging for help so that we can help those students," said Harrisburg Education Association President Jody Barksdale, whose members brought similar concerns to the board in January.
The classroom teachers HEA represents need more help dealing with a mounting set of behavioral issues that, Barksdale said, are making it increasingly difficult for teachers to teach and any students to learn.
Especially at the elementary level.
"Teachers and students are being hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, cussed at.... and observing other students flip over tables, desks and chairs. Teachers have had to take the rest of their class into the hallway top protect them during these outbursts," Barksdale said.
"Not much has changed since last January," Barksdale continued, when she first relayed complaints about to the board and top district administrators about the in-school outbursts.
She called for, at minimum, formation of an administration / teacher / parent task force to address the violence in the schools, as well as a focus on more consistency across buildings in handling student discipline issues.
Longer-term, teachers need more training and in-building supports to deal with children battling mental health issues or trauma at home.
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