Kirsten Westcott Wisconsin Teacher’s Resignation Speech After Students And Staff Suffer Mass Physical Emotional Verbal Abuse
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[Kirsten Westcott Wisconsin Teacher’s Resignation Speech After Students And Staff Suffer Mass Physical Emotional Verbal Abuse]
[Kirsten Westcott:] Source: LYBIO.net
I have been a teacher in your district for the past 12 years. I came to work at Washington Middle School 9 years ago because I wanted to work with at risk kids and kids in need. That is my calling in life, it’s what I was made to do and I’m good at it.
I won the Golden Apple award a few years ago and I am consistently rated excellent by my administrators, supervisors, students and parents. Teaching sixth grade reading at Washington was my dream job.
I am here today because it is with – it is with great sadness that I inform you of my resignation from Green Bay Public Schools.
Washington has been in a downward spiral for a long time, but has been deteriorating rapidly over the past five years, and rapidly during this school year. I fear for my safety every day. I am equally afraid for the safety of my colleagues and most importantly my students. We are in danger every day when we show up to our school. Students and staff are physically, verbally, emotionally, mentally and sexually abused every single day in the building. This environment cannot be allowed to continue. Our students have the right to go to school and be safe and your employees have the right to go to work and be safe.
None of us are safe right now. We are sworn at and called vile, crude and sexual names every day.
I have a list here of horrifying things that were said to your employees and your students. In just the last two days it fills a page.
I struggled with whether or not to read this list to you. In order for you to grasp the abuse we are experiencing, I wanted you to feel how we feel when these things are said to us.
However, I couldn’t bring myself to say them out loud because they’re so disgusting. Ultimately you have to know that these things are said to your employees and your children all day every day. This constant verbal abuse takes a toll on our bodies and minds. It’s devastating that I can’t bring myself to say things out loud that I have to listen to day in and day out at my workplace.
In addition to verbal abuse, the people at Washington are getting injured more than ever. I thought it would take someone getting seriously injured before necessary changes would happen.
But then just a couple weeks ago a teacher was taken away in an ambulance with a bleeding head wound caused by a fight among three students.
Another teacher was physically attacked by students trying to set off a deadly allergic reaction on purpose, causing her throat to close and her to struggle to breathe.
A student was held down on a table and his legs put into vice grips so that other students could take his shoes.
A student had his pants and underwear pulled down, exposing him in a crowded hallway of students.
Another student approached a group of teachers and pulled his pants down and touched himself inappropriately, while laughing at their request to stop.
Male and female students this year are slapped on the buttocks, pitched in the chest, kicked in the groin.
Just last week two students laid on a table in the classroom and kissed each other heavily and pretended to have sex, while a substitute teacher tried to get them to stop.
[Kirsten Westcott:] Source: LYBIO.net
All of those things I just mentioned happened in the month of May. I have a list that I will give to you of more. We’ve had fires set in the school, weapons brought in, drugs sold and used, and still it’s not enough.
Just last week a student told multiple people, multiple times that “I’m going to shoot up everyone in this school”.
Is it going to take someone getting killed for you to finally take the drastic action that is needed?
Our district says that we value health and wellness, but our work environment has become so toxic, it is literally making us sick.
I have numerous colleagues out on extended leave due to stress. It’s a vicious cycle because we cannot get substitute teachers to come to our building, so every single day we are asked to cover the classes of our colleagues who are out. This perpetuates the cycle because we are thrown into classes with kids we don’t know, sometimes with no lesson plans or rosters given no support, and then have all our preparation time taken away from our own classes. This compounds the stress put on us and makes us even sicker.
One of my colleagues has headaches every single week day and is taking medication. Another one wakes up with cold night sweats several times a week. One had nightmares for days after being threatened by an aggressive student.
Another person, one of my teachers, wakes up every single Sunday night around 2:00 A.M. and throws up in anticipation of the work week starting.
We have heard of more teachers now than ever before being treated for anxiety, depression, stress and the related health concerns that working at Washington brings. I comfort co-workers who are crying daily. We exhibit symptoms of PTSD because we live in trauma from 7:30 to 3 o’clock every single day.
Just the other day I broke down after I witnessed an eighth grade student in the office screaming and swearing at a staff member about his cell phone being taken away. This man – this boy was in my class in sixth grade. He had never been in any trouble, never had a office referral, great student, polite young – happy. But every day for the last two and a half years he has lived in the chaos that we adults have allowed to exist at his school, and he sees that the only way to survive in this environment is to be aggressive.
He saw my jaw dropped open at his behavior, and his face crumpled and he started to cry instead of scream, because he is not this person. We created this person because of the environment we forced him to be a part of day in and day out.
Sadly, he is not the only child who has changed for the worse because of the education they are receiving at Washington. Their education teaches them the skills needed to survive in our school. Swearing, screaming, skipping class, hurting people, that’s the only way kids survive at Washington right now. Kids who do not learn these tactics are being tormented daily. I look out to the faces of students in my classroom and I see fear in their eyes.
[Kirsten Westcott:] Source: LYBIO.net
I have instructed my students not to answer the door to our classroom because of the truant students who run the school and come looking for fights. They pound on our doors, shake our door handles, scream swear words into our vents, punch and kick the doors and terrorize us while we are trying to teach and learn. And these are just some of the many violent and aggressive behaviors that my kids have to deal with every day.
Just a few weeks ago some of you on the school board may have received a list detailing a two week period of the horrifying conditions that we are experiencing. And since that time we have seen an increased presence of district office administrators who come to our school to try to help with crowd control for the remaining weeks of the year. That has helped, but it’s not enough. It is a Band-Aid to help us survive the last few weeks. It does not bring about the change that is needed.
Two weeks ago we had a staff meeting and many of you were there on Wednesday after school in our cafeteria. And we talked about all the things that we as teachers are going to do differently to improve the conditions in our school. But I did not hear from any district personnel what they are going to do differently.
We need to hear from you what are you going to do differently to improve the conditions in our school?
Dr. [Michelle] Langenfeld, what are you going to do differently?
Mr. Hoh, Mr. Magas, my Principal, the other administrators, your teachers and students are abused, harassed, violated and put in danger every single day.
What are you all going to do differently that will change the next year for us?
As our school board – it is your job to get answers to these questions.
Now our staff heard on Friday, the two are doing the exact same thing that got us into this mess, by pulling another one of our administrators and sending him to a different school this fall.
We have not had the same administrative staff once since I have been at Washington.
We have had seven different Principals in six years.
Even a thriving school could not succeed in those conditions.
Our at risk school has no chance of survival if drastic action is not taken now.
An at risk school like us needs more consistency not less.
We need more attention, more support and more help long-term.
We need real solutions that come from above, that’s you, along with the money and people resources to make those solutions a reality.
We got an email from our Principal on Friday with a few personnel resources that you will be adding at Washington for the 2017-2018 school year. But just adding more people hours is not enough either.
Systemic change around how our school is treated by the district is required.
We need the best, we need to you to have the best people in position with incentives for them to stay at Washington to be a part of a long-term solution.
If you have to pay them more, than do it, figure out a way to give us the best of the best, and then figure out a way to keep them. Our kids deserve it.
You ask us to differentiate in the classroom, so differentiate for our school.
We are in crisis, we need you to give us everything you’ve got.
We need smaller class sizes, we need a different approach to the special education push-in programming.
We need correct placement of students who have aggressive and violent psychological problems that we cannot deal with.
We need you to follow the student handbook that you have created.
Section 443.7 of the student handbook policy states that students who commit aggressive or violent behavior shall be required to seek an initial screening and ongoing counseling and provide written evidence of this counseling to the principal within one month of their offense.
Simply following through with that one rule would be a huge start to making positive change for us.
Enforcing the following policy in the handbook for students with subsequent violent – violations would be another way for you to make positive change for us. Start this long-term change process by committing to following through with the consequences that you already have.
[Kirsten Westcott:] Source: L Y B I O . N E T
We need swift action from downtown and we need a no tolerance policy for this abusive behavior in our school.
Let me make it very clear that I am not here to look backwards for blame, I am here to look forward for solutions.
Our current administrators are doing the best they can. They inherited a huge mess and they were not given the tools or the resources or the freedom to do what needs to be done to clean it up.
This toxic situation has been a long time in the making and I know it cannot be fixed overnight or by one person. But as a wise person in my life says ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’.
What are you going to change in order for that – in order to change the future of this school?
I would not survive another year in the toxic setting at Washington.
I must resign even though I have a broken heart because I cannot survive in this unhealthy and unsafe environment any longer.
I am here now to speak for the people who will remain there and continue to try to survive in this dangerous school and work setting every day.
We need answers, our kids deserve answers.
If your children came home from school and told you just one of the things I told you today, wouldn’t you demand answers?
You as our school board must demand answers on our behalf. Thank you for your time.
Kirsten Westcott Wisconsin Teacher’s Resignation Speech After Students And Staff Suffer Mass Physical Emotional Verbal Abuse. We are in crisis, we need you to give us everything you’ve got. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.