Teen beats up Philadelphia teacher – school system blames reduction of support staff

Don’t miss any opportunity to point out you need more cash for your school system. The president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union had a statement to make after an 8th grader beat the crap out of a science teacher.

We need more union dues-paying members to hold the thugs at bay. At least that’s what his statement sounded like to me. Background

School district spokesman Fernando Gallard says eighth-grade science teacher Lawrence Williams got into an argument with a student, and the student attacked the teacher.

The teacher suffered a swollen eye, lip, and other head injuries. He was taken to a local hospital, in stable condition, and later released.

The statement from Jerry Jordan, the union rep, with my emphasis in bold.

There is absolutely no place for violence in our schools. It is unacceptable under any circumstances for a student to lay a hand on anyone, but especially a teacher or school employee. Schools must be safe for students and staff.

With the elimination of support staff – classroom assistants, non-teaching assistants, nurses, counselors and school police – the district has reduced the adult-to-student ratio and the ability for remaining staff to control school climate adequately. The district is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to school safety.

Schools are safe because of the steps we take proactively – because we have appropriate staffing levels in schools, we use proven anti-violence and anti-bullying programs, we provide training so that staff can work effectively with disruptive children and because we offer appropriate alternative placements for disruptive or violent children.

Continued cuts to the staff assigned to schools to make them more safe shows me that the district hasn’t learned the lessons it should have learned five years ago this month, when a Germantown High School teacher’s career was ended by a brutal student assault. Teachers and staff have to know that support personnel is available when they need it.

What was the staffing level five years ago? The first part of his demands – they really sound like demands – imply recent cuts have caused this issue to become a problem. Then he mentions an issue five years ago.

Let me give Jordan a tip … it has almost nothing to do with staffing levels. The brat knew he could get away with it and knew the teacher could not fight back. If he did, he knew he’d get a big pay day from the school system.


8 replies
  1. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    So, once again, more money, more teachers, correction, more dues paying teachers, will make everything better.? Nevermind that the teachers have been stripped of all punitive powers and are more likely to be blamed for an altercation than the student.
    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to provide martial arts training for teachers and the right to defend themselves?? It sounds like this teacher didn’t or couldn’t put up a fight; I see no reports of any injuries to the student, nor do I see any punishment, like arrest and expulsion for the him (I am presuming it is a male, of course).
    Did you ever hear of this happening in a one room schoolhouse?

  2. steve418r
    steve418r says:

    Maybe the teachers should be cut back a little on their benefits so the system could afford support staff.

  3. Plainvillian
    Plainvillian says:

    4000 years of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ produced the greatest generation.? 50 years of psychobabble and unionized schools produce stories like this.
    I wonder how many of these incidents occur in private/parochial schools.? Will public schools become the dysfunctional havens of only the incorrigible and the incompetent ?

  4. gillie28
    gillie28 says:

    When I was teaching in CT, a student threatened to kill me because I wouldn’t let him into my class – he didn’t belong there.? He was already on an electronic bracelet.? At first, the administration would do NOTHING (I mean NOTHING) about the situation (there were other witnesses to what he’d threatened).? Finally, I went to the social worker and he got the police involved.? Because of this, the student was finally helped (won’t go into it here).

    In this school, students were often wandering the corridors;?teachers just “gave up,” let students watch videos?most of the day; fights were everyday occurence; teachers were sent to hospitals with wounds from student attacks….etc. etc.? And this was in CT!!!

    I can’t express how awful some administrations can be.? More intersted in advancing their careers, gaining awards, promoting friends and family, protecting their turf, getting increased test scores and looking good, than really dealing with issues.?

  5. phil
    phil says:

    Stow, Massachusetts, 1950.? Third and fourth grade, 60 students, two teachers, one janitor.? The teachers knew how to smack us.? Don’t know about the janitor, didn’t think it wise to find out.? Spare the rod, spoil the child.

  6. JBS
    JBS says:

    This will continue and only get worse as ling as the school and its administration make excuses for the criminality of students. Angry, disruptive students assault teachers because they know they can get away with it.?
    Gillie, sounds like you worked at a certain Hartford “alternative” (read that as warehouse) school.

    • Lynn
      Lynn says:

      Thank you for standing up for your students and getting help for one who was not your student. I applaud all teachers who understand what teaching is all about. I take it you aren’t teaching anymore.

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