Teachers, Councilors Agree Schools Need Better Discipline
Teachers and parents are saying there is still a serious threat of violence in New Bedford Public Schools.
The City Council's Committee on Public Safety invited public comments on the state of the school district's discipline policies, and many agreed they are not strong enough.
Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin and other representatives of the School Department were invited, but none attended.
Jerry Sullivan was one of only two teachers to attend the meeting and says the students know they can get away with causing trouble.
"It's at the point where the students know exactly what they can get away with, how they can talk to us, how they can behave in the classroom without any true consequences taking place."
Sullivan says many of her colleagues are afraid to speak out because of possible retaliation from Supt. Durkin.
Lou St. John is the president of the teachers union and is suggesting the city implement more alternative options for disruptive students. If their emotional, social, or behavioral needs can be addresses, they can eventually be integrated back into the classroom.
St. John also says he has not heard of any teachers receiving reprimand from speaking out against the administration, but that the fear is still there.
The City Council plans to send Supt. Durkin a letter asking her to listen to the concerns of her teachers and to consider any suggestions they may have.