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Student misbehavior may add to teacher shortage problem

(NewsNation) — Teachers and support staff in Brevard County, Florida, said at a special school board meeting Thursday that they’re no longer able to take the abuse of bad student behavior.

The Brevard County School District chair said teachers and bus drivers are walking out in droves.

“We had 42 teachers resign; we had eight bus drivers resign in the last two weeks. If we don’t get something moving, we will see resignations across the county. We know that for a fact,” Matt Susin, the board chair said.

Educators in Brevard County are not alone: Behavioral issues in the classroom have been an issue in schools across the country. 

A video showing a fight between a student and a teacher in a classroom at Westview Middle School in St. Louis just went viral Monday, Dec. 5.

The National Education Association has long listed student behavioral issues as a serious problem facing educators dating back to 2018. However, the problem still remains. And now there’s concern the behavioral trend is playing into the fight to keep teachers and bus drivers.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in violence in our society — a significant decrease in accountability and consequence. And so, it’s not surprising that, unfortunately, this is spilling over into the behavior of students in schools,” said Dr. Amy Klinger said on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” Thursday.

Dr. Klinger is the director of programs at the Educator’s School Safety Network. She also trains teachers and administrators in crisis response.

“We hear all the time of kids that are throwing the chair or physically hurting other kids in the classroom or teachers,” she said.

Back in Brevard County, Sheriff Wayne Ivey criticized the current school discipline policy in a Nov. 28 press conference.

“They’re not worried about getting in trouble, they know nothing’s going to happen to them. They’re not going to be given detention they’re not gonna get expelled or, like in the old days, they’re not going to get the cheeks of their a– torn off,” Wayne said.

Klinger said training is a big component of handling bad student behavior and that it is imperative teachers are prepared to handle misbehavior.

In that meeting Thursday, the school board talked about some of the changes they could make. Suggestions included bringing back a discipline committee and making sure parents are involved.