Teachers and board trustees at Fresno Unified demanding changes to discipline policies

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Fresno Unified teachers joined with two school board members Wednesday demanding changes to the district's discipline policies. (KFSN)

Fresno Unified teachers joined with two school board members Wednesday demanding changes to the district's discipline policies.

Teachers and trustees said there isn't enough being done to help disruptive students and it's creating an unsafe environment on campus.

Students acting out in class and disrupting other students who are trying to learn, fights on campus, and threats against teachers and staff are becoming a common occurrence on Fresno Unified's school campuses. That's according to the Fresno Teachers Association, two school board members, and numerous teachers. The two factions came together demanding change and stricter policy when it comes to discipline, saying the constant incidents need to stop.

"A Fresno High teacher was hurt breaking up a fight just last week on May 18. At Slater Elementary a student there at an elementary school brought and fired a BB gun inside of a classroom," said Tish Rice, President of Fresno Teachers Association.

People Wednesday said school administrators are under pressure from the district to lower suspension and expulsion numbers. The tactics aren't addressing the real problem-- giving students the actual discipline they need.

Jon Bath, a Sunnyside High School teacher, said, "We need a clear set of policies. If you do these things you will face suspension, expulsion."

"I applaud the district on the 83-percent graduation rate. The problem with it is that averages don't really show you the true picture of what's happening," said Brooke Ashjian, Fresno Unified Trustee.

The district does have at least two Phoenix campuses-- or schools that provide a place for students who have issues with bad behavior. But officials said those campuses hold only 30 students per class and they're at capacity.

"We need to provide the interventions and the support, social, emotional support for students who need that," said Carol Mills, Fresno Unified Trustee,

In a statement Fresno Unified said they do hold students accountable for inappropriate behavior, and provide them support to improve moving forward.

Trustee Ashjian is expected to speak at Wednesday night's school board meeting. The district's policy procedures, including when it comes to discipline, are on the agenda.
Related Topics:
educationfresno unified school districtstudentsteachersfresnoFresno
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