Buffalo teachers union: student behavior "disturbing"

Posted at 2:11 PM, Jan 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-29 18:44:14-05

The Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF) released the results of a survey, Monday, detailing student behavioral issues across district schools. The vast majority of Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) teachers who responded to the survey take issue with how disruptive behavior is handled in their particular schools.

Only 8.6 percent of teachers think "disruptive student behavior" is handled appropriately. Nearly one-third of teachers, 31.1 percent, believe student behavior is either out of control or almost out of control.

Of around 3,700 total teachers in BPS, 1,217 responded to the anonymous survey. Teachers from 65 of the district's 69 schools entered responses, along with teachers from 12 "other sites".

Along with being asked to describe "disruptive student behavior", teachers were asked if they think discipline and suspensions are under reported at their school and whether administrators discuss "how a student's behavior can be expected to improve" before sending the student back to class.

In regards to so-called under reporting of suspensions and discipline, 80.9 percent of teachers think their school is doing so. More than three-quarters of teachers, 76.6 percent, say an administrator does not discuss how to improve student behavior before returning students to class.

Phil Rumore, BTF President, said schools are being instructed to lower suspension rates by the district, which has lead to under reporting. Administrators at schools do so "to look good", he said.

"We have to work together to ensure our students' learning environment and their safety are not compromised by disruptive acts of our students," Rumore said. "While we continue to find ways to determine why the students are acting out and correct that behavior, we cannot let the disruptive student behaviors go unreported and unaddressed."

The report includes anonymous written comments from teachers at various schools.

A teacher at Buffalo Public School 198, the International Preparatory School, wrote, "Student behavior and lack of administrative intervention has made me fearful of coming to work this year - our building is spiraling out of control".

You can view the full report, including comments from teachers at various schools, below: