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I started my 7th-period class and greeted my students as we prepared for day’s lesson. About 15 minutes into the lesson, two of my fellow teachers came into my classroom because they needed help. My coworkers know that I’m always down to help with anything. So they waited patiently as I finished my instruction. While they were waiting on me, one of the teachers talked about how stressed they were because the ESE specialist was promoted and that position was still vacant. They felt as if they were doing double duty. These teachers were working hard to complete IEP documents and to make sure they were completed with accuracy. When these teachers asked the District to help the District responded: “They will review things in August”. August. As in the next school year.

While this discussion was taking place, I heard loud screams and was instantly startled because these are noises you wouldn’t expect to hear coming from a classroom. It was coming from the classroom next to mine. The students were screaming for help. Please remember, I had a class with 28 students present when the screams for help were happening. Imagine trying to calm your kids in your classroom because they also don’t know what was happening. I asked my classroom leader to take my spot and watch the class for me as the screams and noises got increasingly louder. I called the office for assistance due to the screams and pure chaos outside.

The three of us go outside in the hallway to see what’s going on. As we looked into the classroom, it was a serious fight! As educators, we secretly rated the level of fights. This one was level 10. All the desks and chairs were moved around. The kids are standing on tables with their phones out going live. We are monitoring the hallway and the surrounding classrooms because now everyone can hear the commotion. A female student was brave enough to step in front and help separate the two students fighting. We attempted to keep them separated meanwhile keeping all the other students in their assigned classrooms. Just imagine all the disruption when things like this occur. Unfortunately, in my hallway, this was a daily occurrence. The school deputy came about 15 minutes after we called the office. He was dealing with another incident that had occurred upstairs at the same time. He had to grab one of the students. He was shirtless and was trying to throw a chair at the other student in the hallway. Someone could have seriously gotten hurt that day.

This fight was preventable if we upheld our policies and were given the support we were requesting back in September. One of the students fighting was not even assigned to that teacher’s classroom. This teacher told the administration that she needed help. In fact, multiple people also sent emails telling our previous administration the same and that she was not safe in her classroom.

The fight video got posted on social media and the kids were glued to their phones. I saw the video and I cried instantly. From the video, the students looked like they really didn’t want to fight. It seemed like they were just succumbing to peer pressure because you can hear in the video students hyping them up. The fight was bad but seeing it posted everywhere upset me deeply. One of the students did a WWE slam on the student. That student could have broken their neck. All I wanted to do was teach! Not consistently break up fights and dealing with issues happening in my hallway. I asked for help in September, a school shouldn’t be this way.

Bianca Goolsby, MBA
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