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Teacher Walks Out of Unsafe, Hostile Environment

After 50-plus years of successful teaching, I, a first grade teacher, quit my job when a parent-employee, for the third time, walked into my classroom and verbally harassed me in front of students.

I kept a behavior log since the beginning of the year documenting disruptive, non-compliant, volatile and dangerous behavior. In an early conference, the parent insisted I was “picking on” her child. Rather than come to the classroom to observe her child as specified by an agreed-on behavior plan, she listened outside the closed door and burst into the classroom again claiming the child was being “picked on.” Had the parent been in the classroom, she would have noted the child drumming on the desk with pencils, humming and continually talking after being redirected at least twice. Although be it noted, this child is not the only discipline problem in this class.

I cannot continue to watch student learning suffer as students and teachers are held hostage by lack of appropriate action. It is time to speak out! It has come to my attention that other staff members, both current and past, have left Maunaloa School with similar concerns, but who have been advised to “step back, lay low or move on quietly” in order to save their careers. Some continue to teach with fear and reprisals.

I support the need for Maunaloa School to remain open as the heart of the Maunaloa community, but I feel strongly that changes need to be made. Not only is the administration ineffective in dealing with behavior problems, they don’t even acknowledge there is a problem. When concerns are voiced, fault and responsibility are repeatedly placed back on faculty and staff, with no administrative ownership of the problems.

I do not say these things as a disgruntled employee, but one who feels it is time that dedicated parents, students, staff and teachers are provided a safe, positive learning environment, and where disruptive and enabled students and parents can no longer continue their chaos and intimidation. Our children deserve more!

Susan Gerard

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