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Albany, OR: School violence; "students/educators don't feel safe"

Mar 3, 2019, Albany (OR) Democrat-Herald; Focusing on the good: Disruptive behaviors on the rise, but schools work on rewarding the positive The Memorial Middle School sixth-grader was one of 11 students invited to the Albany Police Department earlier this month as part of the Bringing Up Learning Behavior (BULB) program, a partnership between the city, Greater Albany Public Schools and the police department. Miller, along with the other students, earned the honor of a limousine ride to the police station and an hour of bowling and pizza for taking responsibility for his past actions, turning his focus to academics and becoming more thoughtful. The event was attended by local law enforcement, parents and Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa, who congratulated the students for showing improved behavior in school. … On Feb. 5, the Oregon Education Association, the labor union representing educators, released a report that summarized the result of 14 community forums, including one held in Albany, detailing what it described as a “crisis of disruptive learning.” The report follows about three years of an increases in stories from OEA members about troubling behavior in Oregon classrooms, ranging from talking out of turn to throwing chairs. “It’s clear that Oregon students and classrooms are in crisis,” the report reads. “Students are coming to school with complex needs, students and educators don’t feel safe and schools and districts don’t have the resources to address the root causes of these incidents.”… Memorial Middle School Principal Ken Gilbert, who has been an educator for more than 20 years, said in his experience, disruptive behavior is on the rise. “It’s more than it was 20 years ago when I started, even more than it was 10 years ago, five years ago,” he said. … “Statewide and specifically in Albany, one of the challenges is an increase in pretty acute behavior. So we’re seeing behavior that is more extreme at younger ages than we have seen even in the last five years as services have decreased for youth in mental health or support services we have seen an increase in that,” she said. “I think if you asked anyone, really, in education right now what the biggest challenge they’re facing, that (behavior) would be in the top three.”


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