Teachers ask for more protection against unruly students

(WFSB file photo)

Kicked, bitten, and thrown to the ground. Connecticut teachers say they've had enough.

On Monday, some told lawmakers they're afraid to come to work and schools are doing very little to protect them.

"I was punched in the arm by two students who decided to wrestle in front of me. One had the other in a headlock, the other went to punch him but punched my arm instead,” said Heidi Kapszukiewicz, who is a retired Norwich teacher.

She is still recovering from her injuries. She had a torn rotator cuff and needed surgery, and it's not her first injury.

"No, I’ve had had numerous injuries from more students. They tore my rotator cuff on the other arm the year before,” Kapszukiewicz said.

"We've been put in a position where we see no other alternatives. Our repeated calls have not been met,” said Robyn Kaplan-Cho, of the Connecticut Education Association.

The association is telling lawmakers that disruptive students are taken out of the classroom for a short period of time but are often brought right back, and the aggressive behavior continues.

They are looking for more resources. They want more social workers, and that incidents of violations must be reported.

They also want administrators to follow up on consistent violent behavior, and to allow teachers to remove students who have assaulted someone or are a threat.

"We are seeing this most prevalent at the elementary level and even pre-school and those schools are definitely not set up to deal with these problems at that level,” Kaplan-Cho said.

Teachers also want parents to be notified every time there's an incident.

They said this is a problem that exists in many school districts; it's happening in the inner cities as well as affluent suburbs.

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