Parents fire back at teachers union over student behavior

Posted at 5:12 PM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-01 18:25:36-05

A parent group is calling out the Buffalo Teachers Federation over a controversial survey the union released Monday. Around one-third of Buffalo Public Schools teachers responded to the anonymous survey, which the union says shows "disturbing" student behavior.

You can read more about the teachers union survey here.

The District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) held a news conference Thursday raising questions about the accuracy of the survey.

The group's external public advocate, Duncan Kirkwood, said the survey perpetuates negative stereotypes surrounding many students in Buffalo schools.

"It jades how people perceive our children," he said. "Which feeds into the reason why our children are perceived this way on the streets dealing with law enforcement and dealing with the real world."

"We need to focus," Jessica Bauer Walker said at the news conference. She has two children at P.S. 45. "Our disruptive children are in pain. They need help. How can we help them? Instead of saying let's suspend them."

The district also shared concerns about the survey's accuracy.

"We are very much interested in hearing the voice of all teachers," BPS Associate Superintendent for Student Support Dr. Eric Jay Rosser said. "But what it seems to us in the report released by the BTF is that it was only a fraction of teachers who responded to the survey."

Of the district's approximately 3,700 teachers, more than 1,000 responded to the survey to express concern and dissatisfaction with student behavior and corresponding discipline.

The DPCC called for the district, union and community groups to work together to address the issues students are facing outside of school that contribute to issues inside school.

Phil Rumore, BTF President, made a similar call to action Monday when he released the results of the survey.

"What we want to do is lower suspensions by finding out what the root cause of the bad behavior is and working with that student and that family to end the negative behavior," he said to 7 Eyewitness News Thursday.

All three groups agree one of the most important things to do in addressing student behavior is figuring out why each individual student is misbehaving and providing support to him or her.

BPS has a number of programs in place now that help address problems students might be facing outside of school that can impact how they are behaving in school.

"Whenever there is a challenge that is seen in our classrooms, whenever there is a challenge that's seen among our student population, we want to have a conversation about how we address those challenges, collectively," Dr. Rosser explained.