CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Violence inside schools is becoming a growing problem in Middle Tennessee school districts, and it’s caught the attention of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office after an altercation was caught on camera. Inside an elementary school, the cameras caught a parent assaulting a school principal.
“Aggressive behaviors have escalated a lot in this particular school year. TikTok challenges do not help at all,” explained Constance Brown, the President of the Clarksville Montgomery Education Association.
Brown has been an educator for more than 25 years and says this type of aggressive behavior is something she has never seen before. She points to social media challenges and violent video games as part of the problem. Those activities, coupled with years spent away from their peers during the pandemic, have left some students without social awareness.
“Educators specifically, the stress on them, it’s astronomical these days, so to find out that a peer has been assaulted, it is very, very […] it hurts,” Brown said.
Last week, the sheriff’s department arrested a parent after she assaulted a school principal. The sheriff explained this was the first time charges have been filed due to an altercation between a parent and a faculty member. Brown explained, watching the video from the incident, she was shocked.
“Speechless, mainly because I never would have thought. If you’d have asked me a couple of weeks ago, would I ever see anything like that I would have told you oh no? Maybe some raised voices from time to time, but never anything to that level,” explained Brown.
The Clarksville Montgomery Sheriff’s Office is now cracking down on violence inside of schools. So far, school resource officers (SROs) have handed down 11 criminal charges, all stemming from an assault within the school system. The sheriff explained these types of altercations could be between a student and parent, a student and staff, or in some cases, it could be a student in the special needs program that hits a teacher out of reaction.
“It’s crazy that you have to have such a presence in schools these days because you see the activity that’s going on,” said Sheriff John Fuson. “Some of these schools need two and quite frankly some of them need three SROs in their school just because of the volume of activity. If you could imagine for a minute having one SRO in a high school that has 1,800 kids in it.”
The district is already looking to expand the number of officers within schools.
“I would say right now, we’re down to three vacancies in the district and, of course, like many districts though, those number of activities within schools is increasing so that is definitely a challenge for the ones that we do have,” Sheriff Fuson explained.
The department is hoping to add seven more SROs to the district for the next school year.