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CA: Santa Clara Co teachers demand protection from violent SPED students

May 18, 2023, KTVU TV, Oakland, CA: Educators rally for safer classrooms and more staff after being injured by students

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Dozens of educators rallied at the Santa Clara County Office of Education Wednesday demanding to have safer classrooms. They say understaffing has put them at risk to be injured when working with their special needs students.

Educators told story after story of being hurt or in danger because they simply don’t have enough staff to handle students who have behavioral issues. Today they brought proof of their injuries to the Board.

Dozens of members from SEIU Local 521 and the Association of County Educators held a rally shortly before Wednesday’s board meeting in San Jose. Special Education teacher Christina Munoz told the crowd how four people had to help free her from a student’s grip. Then she was hospitalized. …

Educators say they simply don’t feel safe while working with special needs students who may have severe behavioral issues.

"To be clear we do not blame the students for anything. The situation is not the students' fault but instead is a result of management’s failure to provide appropriate student-specific learning, training, support and resources including staff," said Tara Guerrero, President of the Association of County Educators.

The two unions represent over 1,300 workers with the Santa Clara County Office of Education. After the rally, they headed into the Board meeting where they held up a photo display of injuries educators have endured including severe bites, bruises, hair pulling and a dislocated knee. …

In response to staff concerns, the Santa Clara County Office of Education released this statement saying:

"Student and staff safety remains a top priority for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. The office values the privileged opportunity to serve the students under our care and highly value the personnel who provide educational services to the students. We remain committed to our ongoing collaborations with our staff and union leadership."

This is the 2nd time in six months these educators have rallied for better classroom safety and staffing. They say they have received more compensation, but safety is still a huge priority.


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