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Kalamazoo,MI: Schools face increase in disruptive behavior; 'very big lack of support'

Feb 4, 2019, Kalamazoo, MI, MLive: Behavioral issues at Kalamazoo schools persist despite zero expulsion report, union leader says A school administrator’s report suggesting improvements in student behavior at Kalamazoo Public Schools does not reflect what teachers are experiencing inside their classrooms, the president of the district’s teachers union says. Amanda Miller, president of the Kalamazoo Education Association, said behaviors among students are not getting better, despite the decrease in expulsions highlighted by district administration at a recent school board meeting. In fact, Miller said, behavior issues are getting worse, and teachers need help. … But Miller said, based on what she is hearing from the district’s teachers, incidents of poor behavior are on the rise. Teachers have reported cases of students hitting teachers and other students, roaming hallways, attempting to leave the school building, fighting with each other, throwing items or refusing to sit down in class, … Smaller class sizes and more support staff would help teachers better manage students, Miller said. “There’s a very big lack of support,” she said. Training is ongoing, and the effort is a cultural shift that will take time for everyone to learn and believe in, Bergan said. … Teachers see a clear need for more counselors, mental health therapists and behavioral specialists trained to handle tougher situations involving students, Miller said…. Last year, three additional social workers and six new mental health therapists were added to the school district budget…. Adverse childhood experiences impact students' ability to learn inside the classroom. …


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