Stillwater,OK: "An increase in the number of students with mental illness"

Sept 16, 2017, Stillwater (OK) News Press: State's pool of special education teachers dwindles Special education teachers have become so scarce that districts face fierce competition to find and keep good candidates and sometimes leave open positions unfilled. … The shortage of special education teachers is a nationwide problem. … Districts say hiring paraprofessionals helps special education teachers manage more students. … Special education teachers work with students with disabilities, which include autism, emotional disturbances, traumatic brain injuries, learning disabilities, and hearing and visual impairments. Sixteen percent of Oklahoma students, or more than 109,000, needed special education services in 2016-2017, an increase of 10,000 students over 2011-2012, according to the state Education Department. … She has also seen an increase in the number of students with mental illness who are at times dangerous to themselves or others – an issue she wrote about in 2016. Goetzinger herself was assaulted by a third-grader in 2013. And while taking the boy to the principal’s office, she was pushed into a wall by the boy’s father. She suffered a concussion, but returned to the classroom. Even traditionally trained, special education teachers are often unprepared for these students.