At Sprague High School, a student crawled through a window into the attendance office, throwing a computer at a worker who had transferred out of classroom work to avoid injuries.
So far this school year, the Salem-Keizer School District has logged 738 reports of employees being injured by students. In 88 instances, employees filed claims for medical care.
This is a multi-year problem, by the way.
The teachers’ union now is claiming district officials have shown “deliberate indifference to known dangers” from students, paired with a lack of proper training to address student needs.
I don’t know what legally constitutes indifference, but it is my opinion that the school district’s responses to these events have been woefully inadequate, I suspect by policy.
The Salem Keizer Education Association put the district on notice in a 10-page letter dated March 17 that it intended to sue on behalf of teachers, instructional assistants and others injured by students.
It’s about damn time.
The most recent student census showed the district was educating 6,666 students from ages 5 to 21 who are classified as qualified for special education. That’s about one out of six students enrolled in the Salem district.
My only comment here is that all students, special ed or not, need to meet a standard of behavior that does not disrupt the educational process. If they cannot meet that standard, they do not belong in a normal public school. Period.
The union, which is entering negotiations for a new contract, said that eight years ago the school district moved to “increase the number of special education students in the general education population” that resulted in “a significant increase in student-on-staff violence.”
The school district isn’t properly preparing education plans for such students and in October changed practices to put special education students into regular classrooms at least 30 minutes a day, according to the claim.
So-called “mainstreaming” of special education students is only viable if they do not disrupt the educational process. (Even then they should probably be capable of doing the work in question for the class, but that’s a secondary consideration to school safety.)
“I think parents would be surprised how many times we have a ‘class clear’ where a student has escalated and started throwing things around,” she said, explaining that teachers usher all other students out of the room at such times. “Those happen on a pretty regular basis.”
Just call the police or get a taser. Get the kid out of the school. We should not be accommodating violent behavior like this. Public education will continue to decline until we make classroom safe.