by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:ATLANTA —
A group of teachers at a metro Atlanta school want their principal removed before the start of the school year because of bullying.
Current and former teachers at Canby Lane Elementary School in Decatur say their principal, Anita Stokes-Brown, uses intimidation tactics and created a hostile work environment that affects their ability to teach.
"Anytime a person feels intimidated and feels threatened in any kind of way, they're being bullied, and that's what we feel," first-grade teacher Marva Cason said.
Cason told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri that she and other teachers crafted a petition asking the district to remove Stokes-Brown.
The letter claims, "Stokes-Brown has treated us with great disrespect, demoralized and criticized us."
Cason said Stokes-Brown's treatment of teachers has left them stressed.
"Talking to us in a demeaning manner, just treating us like we're inhuman. Some of the teachers I've seen cry," she said.
Another concern, Cason said, is fights between students and other disciplinary issues that go unresolved because Brown won't address them.
"Kids fight, kick teachers. I've had to hold students myself. She just ignores it," Cason said.
Another teacher told Viteri by phone she is one of several teachers who asked for a transfer to another school because of what she called a hostile environment.
She said her biggest concern was she no longer felt effective in the classroom.
"It highly affected the job we were able to do. And for me, it made me sick," the teacher said.
DeKalb County School District spokesman Walter Woods said the complaints are a concern for school leaders and the district is working to address them.
"We've been in there, we've talked to teachers, staff. We've talked to the principal and I think working together there will be a positive environment," Woods said.
Cason said no one from the school district had talked with her about the concerns until she received a phone call this week.
Woods said he is confident the issues will be resolved before the start of the school year.