SHOCK: Milwaukee teachers talk of 31,000 reported instances of violence towards students, workers this year

Jun 7, 2016 by


MILWAUKEE – Bob is a teacher in the Milwaukee Public Schools system.

In 2014 he was going to work in a wheelchair following Achilles tendon surgery. As it turned out, his presence in school, in such a vulnerable condition, was a horrifying experience. He was obviously unable to defend himself, and a group of aggressive, violent students took full advantage.

“Three students had originally started in the hallway during a passing period. They surrounded me and started grabbing the wheelchair,” Bob, who spoke on condition that his last name be unpublished, told Dan O’Donnell of NewsTalk1130. “They started calling me, and this is a direct quote from them, ‘Cripple in a wheelchair.’”

“After that had happened, I was able to get back into my classroom and close the door and start class. There was a knock at the door, so I went to answer it, and it was one of the students coming back, and the student immediately tried to take the door and slam it on my foot.”

Another teacher came to help and used a phone to call for assistance, but school security said they were busy doing “hallway sweeps” and could not respond,  according to the news report. The student persisted and managed to slam the door on Bob’s injured foot.

“The student took off,” Bob told the radio station. “I eventually got the class started and wheeled myself down to the office to report that this was an assault and explain what had happened.  I requested police intervention and I requested medical attention because having slammed [the door] right on the injured foot, it was quite painful.

“I was denied the medical attention because they had no substitutes who could fill in for me and the police intervention never happened. The police were never called. I don’t know why.”

President Obama’s administration has been pressuring public schools around the nation to limit the number of suspensions and expulsions for students, particularly minority kids, who tend to have get a disproportionate share of the penalties.

Milwaukee Public Schools, like many urban districts across the nation, have certainly cooperated. But the result has been the type of horror you read about above, multiplied many times.

“As of May 25th, there have been more than 31,000 referrals issued in Milwaukee Public Schools this year for fighting or violent or aggressive behavior toward classmates or staff members—an average of more than 172 per day,” the news report said.

“There have been 646 referrals for sexual assault this year, and 399 for weapons in schools. However, only 9,358 students have been suspended this year—a dramatic decline from even a few years ago.

“MPS has, in fact, dramatically reduced its suspension rates over the past decade even though student behavior has, by all accounts, gotten worse.

“In the 2007-2008 school year, MPS schools suspended a total of 26,309 students, and that number has steadily declined—all the way to 13,641 in 2012-2013 and a low of 8,280 last school year.”

A teacher named John told the radio station that former MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton started the trend by pressuring building administrators to dramatically reduce the number of suspensions any way they can. So if there were suspensions, they were not recorded, because “that would keep the superintendent off their back since their suspension data wouldn’t be getting any higher,” John was quoted as saying.

“I saw it happen in multiple schools,” John told the radio station. “And furthermore, I had expressed this as a concern to several of my colleagues and asked them if they were seeing this type of thing in their buildings and they said that, yes, they were seeing it, most definitely.”

Source: SHOCK: Milwaukee teachers talk of 31,000 reported instances of violence towards students, workers this year |

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