Richmond school teacher emphasizes ‘something needs to change’

Posted at 12:35 AM, Feb 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-06 00:35:11-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - On Tuesday night, CBS 6 aired an investigation looking into the teacher turnover rates at Richmond Public Schools.

The investigation started after several former Martin Luther King Middle School teachers reached out to CBS 6 Reporter Chelsea Rarrick about frustrations at the school, saying they quit in the middle of the school year.

Since the story aired, CBS 6 has received dozens of emails from teachers and parents in the Richmond Public School (RPS) system. One email said the administrative system fails to hold students accountable, while another said teachers are conditioned to believe they are at the bottom of the totem pole.

"At many of our schools there is a serious culture and climate issue, and that is the result of leadership," said RPS School Board member, Glen Sturtevant.

A current RPS teacher spoke Wednesday night about their concerns.

"There are absolutely no repercussions for the student's actions. There's no accountability," said the RPS teacher.

The teacher did not want to reveal their identity, but said it's their first year teaching in Richmond and they've already had thoughts of leaving after this school year.

"Something needs to change, or it's just going to be a continuous cycle and that would be very unfortunate not only for the teachers, but for the students who do come to school to actually learn," said the teacher.

Sturtevant agrees something needs to change, and said the board is doing what they can to address these concerns.

"The system is really broken. If you want to get rid of an ineffective leader, ineffective principal, assistant principal, the amount of red tape and bureaucratic hoops that we have to jump through to make that happen is one of the prime reasons why we lose so many of these great teachers," said Sturtevant.