(KMOV.com) – Children with behavioral issues are forcing teachers to clear classrooms and the St. Louis area is not immune.
While the issue is stressing many teachers, News 4 found one educator who is offering a solution that she says is working for her.
Ashley Gerald was named ‘Teacher of the Year’ in the Hazelwood School District but, like many teachers, she has to handle disruptive behavior in her classroom.
The term “classroom clear” is known by teachers but maybe not by parents. On Monday, a former Hazelwood teacher showed News 4 pictures of kids lying on floors, tearing up homework and writing curse words on desks. After the story aired, News 4 started getting pictures and being told more stories. One teacher said an elementary school student in the St. Louis-area trashed a classroom at her school and other students were evacuated from their room for two hours.
Gerald explained why students are removed when another student disrupts a learning environment.
“When a student is exhibiting behaviors that are dangerous to themselves or others, then I do a ‘classroom clear,’” she said. “It allows students to calm down, de-escalate without anyone in front of them to entertain.”
No school district is immune. It’s happening at the elementary level and districts like Parkway recently convened a mental health task force to address rising social and emotional challenges.
All the care in the world still doesn’t make teaching easy. Margaret Powers said she gave up teaching partly because of the behavior challenges. She told News 4there wasn’t enough support from administrators during her tenure.
Administrators are responding, even if they don’t have a one size fits all solution to this concern.
For teachers across St. louis, including Gerald, tomorrow brings another day in the classroom and another chance to reach students with challenges that weren’t taught in school.
After Monday’s story, News 4 also heard from parents with children that cause some of the disruptions. It’s not easy for them, and there are a lot of different variables that lead to this behavior.