“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.