Last month, a student brought a gun to George Wythe. This teacher said the problems go further than that.

Posted at 11:16 PM, Nov 03, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond Public School teacher is sharing his concerns for the safety of his students and other teachers after a number of disciplinary incidents reported by officials.

Last month, CBS 6 reported that officials arrested a student inside a classroom who was carrying a loaded gun.

However, the teacher said those who walk the halls of the school daily can see the problem goes far beyond that one incident.

"Students are still not able to feel safe. I've felt unsafe in the building," the teacher said.

The teacher at George Wythe asked to remain anonymous but said they wanted to bring more transparency about what teachers and students are dealing with. The teacher said they are at a loss of what to do after seeing numerous fights and disruptions on a daily basis.

The fights and disruptions have caused students to be held longer in class and can force them to have lunch inside their classrooms, according to the teacher.

"My students are really upset. I see it in their faces every day. They feel like they are being punished when they are not doing anything wrong," they said.

The teacher said the constant disruptions not only make it harder to teach but also deny students their basic right to attend a public school. The teacher also expressed concern about how some disciplinary problems are handled, saying faculty and staff often do not receive clear communication from administrators.

"I felt horrible because I felt like I was sending my students out into danger because there are fights going on and there isn't any communication happening,” they said.

Now, the teacher is calling the district to do more, saying they need more resources and manpower. They added they believe there need to be new procedures in place and training for teachers on how to deal with these situations.

"There are serious issues with security and safety at the school and we need to find a solution immediately and not kick the can down the road,” they said.

CBS 6 reached out to Richmond Public Schools for an interview on the teacher's claims. They shared the following statement:

The safety of our students and staff is the top priority for RPS. We are aware of the concerns of staff at George Wythe and are committed to steps to improve the safety, culture and climate at the school, including the allocation of more staff in the building. In addition, we are working closely with Interim Principal Brown on a variety of next steps to keep students safe and inside the building. We’re also meeting with the City (RPD and City Council) soon for a collective discussion on broad supports.

Sadly, we also would note that the George Wythe community recently lost the late Principal Riddick Parker and the school is in a transitional period. An interim principal will be named soon and will support the school with more permanent routines and positive culture.

We encourage all of the George Wythe community to continue to share their concerns and observations with the school leadership team and division administrators so that we can continue to have the utmost awareness of any issues that could jeopardize the safety of those in the building.

We are committed to addressing these issues through additional safety precautions and procedures, as well as continuing to identify how additional staffing can support the school community.

We decline to share the number of disciplinary incidents this year. As of October 18, we had 128 teacher vacancies at the division level.



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