GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Some Gwinnett County teachers met Monday night for a private, closed-door meeting to discuss staff safety after two school employees were injured by students recently.
Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson was at Lanier High School where another incident happened on Friday.
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A fight at Lanier High School on Friday escalated in the lunchroom, leaving an administrator with a wrist injury, according to the school’s principal. Also last week, a Discovery High School teacher was injured when a student repeatedly punched him in the face in class.
Monday evening a group of teachers gathered and talked about their concerns for their safety while in the classroom and steps that can be taken to better protect staff.
“We have no confidence in the current leadership to be able to solve the problem,” said one current Gwinnett County teacher familiar with the meeting who asked not to be named.
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The meeting featured a handful of teachers who spoke about their options while voicing frustration about an increase in violence in schools.
“I have heard of teachers who are willing to walk out,” said the teacher. “There are people that are willing to do whatever it takes to make the county listen to make the board listen and do the right thing.”
A district spokesperson did not have a comment in response.
This year the Gwinnett County School Board passed a discipline policy change making it harder for students for face tribunals. However, district leaders always stressed that acts of violence would not be tolerated and would continue to be punished appropriately. The change came as the school board looked for ways to revise punishments that disproportionately affected students of color over the years.
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The two incidents last week led to disciplinary consequences for the students involved in each incident, according to the school’s principals in letters to parents.
There’s been a 31% increase in fights involving students according to district data, and many teachers at Monday’s meeting think the two are related.
“They need to take a good look at the policies and take a good look at the people that are influencing the policies,” the teacher said, “because that has gotten us where we are.”
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