Teachers: Students ‘biting, kicking and screaming’ in Metro Schools’ classrooms

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Teachers say the reality of what’s happening in Nashville classrooms includes students biting, kicking, and screaming. On Tuesday night, teachers took their stories public at the Metro Nashville Public School Board meeting. 

“Amazing teachers are hit, kicked, scratched, spat, cussed and/or bitten on a daily basis when trying to help students who are in a heightened state of rage or anxiety.” one teacher said to MNPS School Board members. 

This comment was just one of many where teachers told Metro’s School Board that they feel, violence in the classroom is getting worse.  Some say part of the solution is changing policy, another part is funding. 

“When we have students who erupt in violent outbursts at the drop of a dime, we have to have the staffing that allows for instruction to continue while that student de-escalates outside of the classroom.” said another teacher.  

Teachers aren’t the only ones complaining about students. Metro police decided to pull its officers from alternative schools this month.

Melinda Winningham, a 24-year teaching veteran with Metro Schools says she wants the district to do more to address the behavior problem 

“It means more salary, it means more people in the building. I mean, if you really want to be a system that supports social-emotional learning and you say that’s a big pull to your system….you’ve got to support social-emotional learning and that means in not just training teachers on it…. but acting it in the building,” Winningham said.

The district’s proposed budget for the upcoming year addresses some of those issues, some of the teachers believe there’s another problem. 

“I think we have a leadership apocalypse and a failure to do the proverbial right thing.” said one parent at the Board meeting. 

“This is a district issue, not a Dr. Joseph issue.” said another teacher. 

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