Teachers at Fresno's Fort Miller Middle School say they're afraid

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Parents and teachers at a Central Fresno middle school said they're living in fear and are asking Fresno Unified School District to make changes to improve security. Fort Miller Middle School is located on Dakota near Blackstone.

Twice last year, Carmen Martinez's daughter was assaulted by other students at school. The latest attack was in October, when her 14-year-old came home with scratch marks all over her eyes.

"I was crying when I seen her," said Martinez. When I walked into the office and seen her I was crying I mean what do you do? When the school's not helping you I ask Mr. Sleuter what are we going to do about this and he just stood there. He had no words."

Martinez said her daughter is now in a bullying after school program to help her cope. She's upset that more isn't done to discipline students at Fort Miller Middle School.

Martinez isn't alone. Teachers at Fort Miller say their work environment can be frightening. Some are even on stress leave because of the constant student disruptions and threats.

Teacher Dot Van Duzer said, "We have a lot of issues with teachers being cussed out students being cussed out there's a lot of fights going on. There recently was a gun incident behind the school."

Several weeks ago an expelled student came back to campus with a gun. Teachers also said the school is in bad shape with 20-year-old wrestling mats, no computer lab and few electrical outlets. Recently, volunteers headed to the school for a day of community service to try and make some improvements themselves.

Fresno Unified officials said they've added security measures and help for teachers at Fort Miller, and have listened to parents' and teachers' concerns. The school district said part of the problem is that the school's principal is on medical leave.

Fort Miller also has the highest number of suspensions for middle schools in Fresno Unified, more than 300 since the beginning of the year. Teachers said that number should be double that, with the amount of incidents they've seen.

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