Teachers, parents in Kent concerned about violent outbursts in class

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KENT — When parents send their kids to school, they want them to be safe and get a good education. But parents of some students in Kent say that’s not happening.

Cindy Prescott, with the Kent Education Association, says teachers are reporting violent outbursts in their classrooms this year.

“There are tables and chairs thrown, tables knocked over, book cases tipped over,” said Prescott. “Sometimes teachers are injured, sometimes students are injured.”


Photo sent by Kent teacher’s union of injury to teacher after a special ed. student had an outburst.

A teacher snapped some pictures of her classroom at a Kent elementary school showing the result of a special needs student who had a difficult day in the classroom. The president of the teacher’s union in Kent says for the past four years the district has put special needs children in to general education classes in Kindergarten through third grade, a move she says means special ed kids aren’t getting the specialized attention they used to.

“That classroom would have more personnel, more teachers and more para-educators, a smaller class size,” said Prescott.

Mike Kelly has a son in second grade at Fairwood Elementary and says he’s concerned about his son’s safety and learning environment.

“Violent events have occurred in the classroom and, as a result of those violent events, the classroom is routinely evacuated and escorted into another classroom where the educational process ceases to exist for that period of time,” said Kelly.

Chris Loftis, with the Kent School District, says officials are aware of these incidents. Loftis says cuts were made four years ago because at the time, there were only about a half-dozen special education students in grades K-3 with behavioral issues and the district wanted to move to an ‘inclusion model’.

“It’s not a warehouse to take kids with problems and get them out of the way. That’s not what we do. Special ed is an integrated part of our services to all students,” said Loftis.

Parent Beth Stoughton is among those speaking to the Kent School Board Wednesday night about her concerns. Stoughton also works as a consultant to districts on students with autism.

“We want them in general education classrooms but they need to have the requisite skills and the supports to be in there and that’s not happening,” said Stoughton. “We want to work with the district to make this happen for our kids so they’re all getting the education they need.”

The School Board meeting starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the district headquarters.


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  • Sue

    What about the education of our children who do not have special needs, it is constantly being interrupted by the outburst and violent behavior of these other children. I am a tax payer along with everyone else and we are paying for our children to go to public schools to get an education and unfortunately they are continually being disrupted. We need smaller class sizes and more para educators. I too have a son who has since graduated that had learning disabilities and if He would have been a disruption to any classroom, I would have insisted that he be placed elsewhere and not in a GE classroom.

    • Hedda

      No, you aren't paying like everyone else. Like everyone else you consistently vote to limit spending on education, limit teacher training, and limit growth of new programs. More personnel and smaller class size means that the district has to pay more people, with higher levels of education and training, and take over more classrooms to keep class size down. Until all of the parents assert their constitutional power to force the legislature to pay for the staffing and educational programs necessary to "Leave No Child Behind" we will continue to cut teachers and para-educators to almost skeleton staffing levels while always increasing the pay of administrators and legislators.

      • Slam1263

        So, in your argument, you admit that the money we give to schools is wasted on overhead, Administrators, and legislators, at the expense of the children.

        After complaining that 'Well of an Never Ending Stream of Other People's Money' is being constricted by those that feel they are over taxed.

        I'll agree with you 100% on the issue of having 7 administrators for every teacher, on average, that Washington State has.

        The fact that we are paying way too much, and expecting so little in return, completely passes you by.

      • Ted

        Hedda you make a valid point. When did we decide, as a nation, that somehow, now education is not as important as it used to be so let’s start cutting programs?

    • Staff member

      The kids without behavior problems have their day disrupted way too often. There is no secure safe learning environment for the other 25 students when their classmates with behavior concerns can constantly harm them, their teachers and school property. Fairwood is worse than most other schools about allowing this and letting students harm others and still not being strict enough about what happens in the school and classroom. The teachers are doing their best but aren't allowed to give a good, safe education to the other kids in the classroom who are there to learn.

  • guest

    Children who can't behave or communicate in ENGLISH have NO business in a general education classroom. Those are for the majority of children who want to learn and have the right to an uninterrupted
    education. The fact that the school districts keep the trouble makers and illegals bogging down everyone else's education is why I, for one won't vote them more funds. I'm thankful my children are out of there but feel for all the parents that still deal with it. What it will take is the parents banding together and making enough noise. (kind of like the homosexuals did)

  • Ted

    The rich get richer, and no, they don’t care about YOUR kids, just cut all spending and let them figure out a way to get that money in their pockets.

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