Metro Nashville Students So Out of Control Teachers Fear for Their Lives, SROs Fleeing from Alternative Schools, Educators, Officials Say

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“Chaos” is one word used by a teacher to describe student behavior in Metro Nashville Schools during a shocking town hall discussion hosted by Phil Williams of NewsChannel 5.

A story about the town hall discussion is available here.

“There’s no accountability for the students,” one teacher said.

Metro Nashville Schools Superintendent Dr. Shawn Joseph is trying to reduce the number of students who receive suspensions. His policy, especially aimed at minorities, is blamed.

Retired teacher Karen Gordon told Williams one of her former students was one of the youths who was arrested in connection to the murder of musician Kyle Yorlets.

The district does not respect teachers’ opinions and does not give them resources to handle troubled students, they said. One shared how her principal laughed over her receiving a death threat.

Joseph has generated his own controversy. The Tennessee Star reported last May that his playing explicit rap music during a principals meeting led to a civil rights complaint by a female school board member because the song “Blow the Whistle” degrades women.

The Star also reported on a NewsChannel 5 story last August that Joseph ducked a reporter’s questions about alleged sexual harassment and coverups in the district.

Students’ discipline problems are so bad that even Metro Nashville Police Department’s SROs are scared for the safety of their families, WKRN reports following a meeting on the issue.

The police are phasing out the SRO programs at the two alternative schools, Bass Learning Center and Johnson Alternative Center. For the remainder of this year, they will be present only for arrivals and dismissals, and will be gone next year.

Metro police said their officers in those schools are being verbally abused and are unable to help the students. During the meeting, they said their mission had failed and that keeping officers there would be punishment. They also described some of the ridicule officers went through in the schools.

“After six months he started complaining to the supervisor ‘I need to transfer, I can’t take this ridicule every day’. At some point, it progressed to the point he was receiving threats ‘I’m going to find out where you live. I’m going to do stuff to your wife’ This, that, and the other I’m not going into detail because it’s ugly,” said Metro commander David Corman.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.

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21 Thoughts to “Metro Nashville Students So Out of Control Teachers Fear for Their Lives, SROs Fleeing from Alternative Schools, Educators, Officials Say”

  1. Thomas

    This article is alarmist and picks and chooses which voices are heard. It, plays on stereotypes and fear to produce the exact reaction seen in the comments section. Students are not “monkeys running the zoo” as one comment stated, they aren’t criminals who should be put in a pipeline from school to prison, they are children. As a former teacher in Metro Nashville Public Schools, I dealt with my fair share of misbehavior in the classroom. It doesn’t mean you give up on them and institute some kind of marshal law as many of these comments suggest. Instead of pointing fingers, “its the parents they don’t care about their children”, “the students need to be expelled”, lets use research backed best practice to understand why students act out, support parents who are stretched thin, and teachers/schools that are working to educate our children.
    If we work to help students, to understand underlying motivations of behavior, we can best asses the academic areas where they need help and support them accordingly. The goal of public education is to prepare children for their futures. That isn’t accomplished by instituting fascist style discipline.

    1. #Advocateforteachers

      You are so funny. Where did you teach? Grade level? How long? The year span of your teaching? You have NO idea what happens daily in our schools- no clue. Feel free to come to a high school and use your “understanding the underlying motivations of behavior” and see how long you last.

      1. Thomas

        Its interesting to me that you seek to invalidate my personal experience working with students based on your personal interactions and perspective. I taught all the way up till last year before retiring after working in both high and middle school settings.I’ve seen the changes in discipline, the lack of support teachers get. I get that students cant act out they can say and do things which infuriate, insult, and shock the senses. I understand feeling embattled, that doesn’t mean the researched best practice should go out the window.. The way I always dealt with it was coming back to the fact that they are children in many instances dealing with trauma and pressures that would crush most anybody else. Are you really going to tell me that some of these suggestions, to beat students, to lock them up, to call in the national guard are good ways to educate children? If we approach students like we are adversaries thats the interaction they are going to reciprocate.

  2. KB

    If teachers do not have support from the top down, how do you expect them to be able to deal with behavioral problems in the classroom. If you have parents who are not willing to take responsibility for their own children, then how can you expect an overworked teacher to do better? And do parents really want teachers to be the new parent for their kid? If you do not have strong parent support, strong community support and strong administration support within the school, you are hamstringing your teachers.

  3. Onetone

    Expell them
    Expell them all.
    They can go home without an education amd explain that to their parents.

  4. Todd

    Obama built this

    1. Sherry

      Some kids HAVE to work!

  5. Al

    Hey Buddy… I didn’t fail anyone. My children are well behaved and have some of the highest test scores in the NATION. I am not responsible for others’ children. They had them and they are responsible. Identify the unruly children and address their parents. This “we failed them” mess has to go. You know that failed them? Liberalism. Liberalism says that children should not be punished (“It’s abuse!”), that no one should have to try to be productive (there’s a welfare check for that) and that everyone else is to blame for our actions.

  6. Jerry Lindberg

    Most teachers teach for all the right reasons. However, the stew of incompetence and indifference they swim in are beyond their control. If you can keep your child out of a public school, do so. DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO be educated by the State – a being incapable of distinguished right from wrong.

  7. Laura Gandy

    Mayor Briley is useless. He is too busy kissing ass to his billionaire friends to address the teenage school problems or crime problems. We haven’t heard a word from him on a plan for either. The teachers and the police aren’t getting paid enough to deal with this crap and he is giving money away for soccer. Useless is all he is. How about at this point we institute curfew, pull in national guard reserves officers to roam school halls with guns and institute corporal punishment. We also make after school programs mandatory for all kids. In middle and high school they are in trade learning programs so that once they graduate they can go straight to work. In high school if they pass the college entrance exam they start taking 1st year college courses after school. This way we know where they are and keep track of these kids until at least 6 pm.

  8. Thomas

    They need to put the “Board of Education” back in schools.

    You know the one about 16 inches long, 4 inches wide, most often referred to as a “Paddle”.

    Pr 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

    Pr 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

    Pr 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

  9. Marie

    Train the SROs as SWAT and let them be armed. Zero tolerance, if they accost the teachers or SROs, the students don’t go to mamby-pamby alternative school, they are arrested and go into juvenal detention school; essentially a prison school. If their attitudes don’t improve by their graduation date or they turn 18, they go into adult prison. The parents will be required to also get counseling to find out why their little prince and princess got this way.

  10. Lee

    Unless you were teacher and have actually been in these classrooms, you have no idea how bad it has gotten. It’s not just Nashvillle either.
    We have failed these kids. We have failed to teach them empathy, grace, manners, citizenship, discipline, and tenacity.

    We are all responsible for our own choices, but we have failed to teach these kids how to be good people.

    1. Jim

      Don’t know where you get. That “We” crap you keep throwing around. There is no,”We”. There is only useless parents, and even more useless democrats in charge of the schools these wastes of space attend.
      Many of us actually raise our children with respect for other humans, as well as respect for both right and wrong. Say what you will, but until these subhuman punks are made to suffer for there actions, nothing will change. The monkeys will continue to run the zoo.

    2. Elizabeth


  11. Simple solution: If your child is suspended, then that child can’t return to school till the parent or guardian is able to attend school with the child for the length of the suspension. Haul these poor behaving children into school with their child and watch the culture change real quick.

    1. C. J. Raguso

      Jesus, I respectfully submit that solution is not nearly as simple as it sounds. As a retired teacher, I’ve had parents inform me while their child is in school their child is my problem – not theirs. Also, I’ve had parents sit in my classes, and some have created serious disruptions.

  12. Steve Allen

    One of the byproducts of liberalism.

  13. Wolf Woman

    Shawn Joseph is the embodiment of the democrat party doctrine that puts affirmative action over merit and morality. He’s the perfect superintendent for Mayor Briley who’s a closet democrat socialist.

    1. Shawn wilson

      Absolutely on point!