Atlanta

Educator’s association says teachers ‘raising alarms’ over classroom violence with Ch. 2 survey

ATLANTA — An exclusive Channel 2 Action News survey showed teachers feared going to work and even considered quitting because of violence inside the classroom.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray first reported the results of the survey on Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

The survey questioned nearly 1,000 Georgia teachers and about 8,000 teachers nationwide.

Now, Gray has taken the results to Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Association of Educators.

“Teachers certainly feel like they’re raising the alarm. They’re ringing the bells and there’s not the response,” Morgan said.

Heritage High School English teacher Tiwana Turner was the victim of a violent student attack in 2023 in Rockdale County.

“Nobody should be allowed in the school and attack a teacher and get away with it. We don’t have any protection,” Turner said.

Teachers in the survey ranked what kind of resources they thought could help with the issues they were seeing.

They ranked extra police officers the lowest but said zero-tolerance policies would be most effective.

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Teacher Amber Strickland told Gray about a fourth grader who attacked her with a reusable water bottle and did not face serious discipline.

“I really want him to get help. It’s not that I wanted him to go to a juvenile court or go to jail or anything like that. I wanted him to get help,” Strickland said.

In the survey, an overwhelming 89% of Georgia educators who responded said they’ve noticed a difference in post-pandemic student behavior.

Marietta City Schools superintendent Grant Rivera said there was no going back to normal for many children.

“There were children coming back that had incredible trauma. There were children who never learned how to appropriately socialize in classrooms across the entire country, because they started kindergarten and first grade at home in front of a screen instead of learning how to interact in a circle on the classroom floor,” Rivera told Gray.

When we asked teachers what has the largest impact on behavior, 62% said it was a lack of parental involvement and discipline.

Morgan agreed.

“This is not a school issue. This is an issue we have to look beyond our schools to our communities, to our parents and say, ‘How can we work together?’” she said.

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