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What Public School Teachers Face

In East Baton Rouge Parish schools, anyway. Kiran Chawla, a reporter for the CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge, reports that two-thirds of public school teachers in Baton Rouge feel unsafe on the job, and want to quit because of violent or violence-threatening students. You can watch the video or read an excerpt here: With fights from […]

In East Baton Rouge Parish schools, anyway. Kiran Chawla, a reporter for the CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge, reports that two-thirds of public school teachers in Baton Rouge feel unsafe on the job, and want to quit because of violent or violence-threatening students. You can watch the video or read an excerpt here:

With fights from the courtyard, gym and school bus, the teachers tell the I-team classrooms are not immune with disruptive students boldly threatening teachers.

“Stab you in your throat,” said a student to one of the teachers interviewed.

“It’s gotten to the point where you just show up everyday mentally preparing to be disrespected and cursed out by kids. Kids who you would never think would do it, are now. It’s just common place because so many are doing it and they’re seeing that they can get away with it, and the kids know it and they’ll tell you they do it because they know nothing’s going to happen to them.,” said a teacher.

When asked what kind of words they’re listening to in the classrooms, “F*** you b***h, get the f**k out of my face, leave me the f**k alone, stupid b***h, you got me f**ked up,” responded the teachers.


The union recently surveyed 318 EBR public school teachers about the problems.

The survey revealed that 60 percent of teachers say they have experienced an increase in violence or threats from students and 41 percent saying they do not feel safe at work.  A third of all instructors said they have been physically assaulted by a student while two thirds said they have verbally been abused.

“I’m actually thinking about a career change.  I just don’t know what,” said a teacher.

Sixty-one percent agree, saying they’ve considered leaving.  Washington said he’s sat down twice with EBR Deputy Superintendent Michael Haggen on the results of the survey.  He added he’s also spoken with Superintendent Dr. Bernard Taylor on the matter.

The reporter tried to speak with Superintendent Taylor too, but he refused to answer questions about the report, and he refused to look at it when she tried to show it to him. Watch the report towards the end; the top public school administration in East Baton Rouge behaves like a total coward.

Remember last week’s discussion about the Tuscaloosa public schools, and white flight? The black underclass is what white people and middle-class black people want to get away from. This Baton Rouge report helps explain why there has been so much white flight from East Baton Rouge Parish over the past 20 years: the public schools are going to hell. In the demographic analysis I’ve just linked to, the analysts point out that the town of Zachary, in far north EBR Parish, but having its own school system, has seen a population boom — and even a higher level of black in-migration. I guarantee you those are middle-class black people getting out of Baton Rouge for better schools in Zachary.

A study released earlier this month by the parish school system shows that middle-class public school students of all races in the parish do well in school — but that the children of the poor do not. Thing is, 80 percent of the students in the parish public school system are black, and 82 percent of them are poor (measured by who qualifies for free or reduced lunches). The overall parish demographics show that 46 percent of its residents are non-Latino whites, and 46 percent are black, with the rest made up of Latinos and Asians. Point is, if you are white and live in East Baton Rouge Parish, you probably go to private or parochial school — or you move to another parish.

Some residents of predominantly white, much more affluent south Baton Rouge have been pushing hard to form their own breakaway city, called St. George, primarily so they can control their own schools. What this seems to be is an effort to stop the middle class from fleeing the city. Predictably, some in the press have characterized this as flat-out racism. But as one of the St. George backers said:

“Some people say it’s just white flight. It’s not true. It’s middle-class and upper-middle-class flight, is what it is.”

Watch the Channel 9 report above. Middle-class people are getting out of the EBR Parish public school system not because they want to get away from black people per se; they want to get away from anti-social kids who make learning difficult, who make two-thirds of the parish’s public school teachers afraid in their own classrooms, and from a school leadership that doesn’t want to face the problem.

You will observe in the Channel 9 report that everyone involved is black. The violent students caught on video and recorded on audio are black. The teachers whose faces are obscured and whose voices are distorted to protect their identities are black (you can tell by their accents). The union official standing up for his teachers’ safety is black. The top two parish school officials who are blowing off the complaints are black.

This is not about race. This is about class and culture. We find that difficult to talk about, so we make it about race. Meanwhile, in a free country, those who can leave do leave, or work politically to secede from those cultures that raise children who attack teachers, verbally or otherwise. What are we going to call those black teachers when they get fed up being abused and mistreated by their own students, and their plight ignored or downplayed by the bureaucrats, so they quit and go find another career? Racist? Really?

UPDATE: Reader Ryan Booth adds:

As a former EBR middle-school teacher, I can say that I wasn’t physically threatened, but that’s because I am a man (and a larger-than-average one at that). When I had to switch schools in 2007, after my first year of teaching, I believe my willingness to break up fights was a significant factor in why several principals were so eager to hire me.

I decided to work at Broadmoor Middle, an “academically unacceptable” school. It was 95% black, included students who were in street gangs, and included a significant number of Katrina refugees. Needless to say, fights were a daily occurrence at Broadmoor.

One of the problems with our educational system is that 85% of public school teachers are women. If that figure were reversed, there would be a national outcry about sexism.

The unions make sure that teachers know that they aren’t required to break up fights (“you’re only required to tell them to stop”), but fights can grow if they aren’t stopped, with friends and relatives jumping in on one side or another, and of course no one wants to see kids get seriously hurt. A teacher friend of mine (who is of slight frame and only 5’1″ tall) got slammed into a row of lockers and ended up missing over a month of work.

Of course, most of the problem here is cultural. The girls at Broadmoor wanted to be doctors and lawyers and would study hard, but the boys only wanted to be rappers or athletes. They considered “thug” to be a compliment. Boys who studied were “nerds” or “acting white.” I will never forget the boy who, after making an A on his latest test, begged me not to let anyone else know.

What frustrates me so much with the Cliven Bundys and Donald Stirlings of the world is their actions end up hurting those kids. Kids that I disciplined would sometimes accuse me of racism (while often exhibiting it themselves). One of them called me a “white mother******” (and was “counseled” by the principal and back in my class the next day.

One time, when a kid accused me of racism, I pointed around the room (containing nothing but dark skin) and laughed out loud, and I also pointed out to him that I had specifically chosen to teach at his school instead of a whiter one. The other kids laughed at him too, but he stubbornly kept his belief that I was disciplining him out of racism.

The Al Sharptons of the world, screaming “racism” at every turn, deserve some of the blame for that phenomenon, but the actual racists deserve more.



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