Teachers laid off from Connecticut Juvenile Training School - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Teachers laid off from Connecticut Juvenile Training School

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Teachers laid off from Connecticut Juvenile Training School (WFSB) Teachers laid off from Connecticut Juvenile Training School (WFSB)

It has been a difficult week for state workers, as hundreds are being laid off.

On Thursday, employees at the Judicial Branch got their notices.

Earlier this week, 165 state workers were let go from the Department of Children and Families, and most of them work at the juvenile training school in Middletown.

The Connecticut Juvenile Training School is home to more than 40 teenaged boys. Many of them have been in prison, or in and out of the court system.

Erika Johnson was a teacher at the school, until this week.

"You’re always on your toes - but in a positive way because they are teaching you something new. How to address something differently and see something differently,” Johnson said.

The day before she was laid off, she had just moved into a brand new classroom.

She was only at The Connecticut Juvenile Training School for two years, but she has worked with troubled youth for 14.

Many of the boys came from troubled homes, and are school drop-outs. She teaches them English literature, but first needs to gain their trust.

"We have them for such a short time, if we can just plant a seed and hope they find some success with us. People don't change overnight and there's expectations our boys will change overnight,” Johnson said.

She said the biggest challenge is changing the path the boys take to keep them from coming back. Being part of a union, Johnson said she is aware of the state’s budget problems and that state employees are being laid off to help fix a budget deficit of more than $900 million.

"Personally I am more focused on the students - these young men are going to back to the community - and we can help them bring back something to the community, something healthy or we bring them back with something more traumatic,” Johnson said.

There has been talk at the state capitol over the past few years to close the Connecticut Juvenile Training school. Some are critical because it treats youths like adult prisoners, but the issue has always been—we need to have more residential facilities, but that’s money the state doesn’t have.

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