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‘We’ve had enough’: Bettendorf Middle School teachers and parents speak out on students’ misbehavior

“This building is like Lord of the Flies.”
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 10:14 PM CDT
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - Some teachers and parents at Bettendorf Middle School say they’ve had enough of students’ misbehavior. Many spoke out at Bettendorf School’s recent board meeting about the disrespect and disruption they have dealt with.

Tracy Wachal Naab has a student at Bettendorf Middle School. She says her student has been verbally attacked and physically threatened multiple times at the school.

“It’s becoming scary quite frankly. She’s to the point where she doesn’t want to go to school anymore,” said Naab, “We can’t send her back, not in that environment.”

Multiple teachers and parents spoke up about students’ misbehavior at Bettendorf’s last school board meeting.

“Teachers and support staff alike know that they will most likely be kicked, and cussed out at any point during the day, and possibly even assaulted with food thrown at them in the cafeteria. This building is like ‘Lord of the Flies,’” said Analicia Gomes.

“The climate at the middle school is heartbreaking. This year I have experienced multiple students and staff being told to f-off and mind my own f-ing business and other deragatory names. If you are appalled by this language, good because I am appalled by it too and I have to listen to this daily,” said Beth Douglas.

Naab said she wants to make it clear her children have had some great teachers in the district, but her daughter won’t be returning to the Bettendorf school district. She plans to enroll her daughter at Pleasant Valley next school year.

“When you send your kids to school, you are handing them off to somebody and you just want them to be safe and learn in a safe environment and when you don’t have that confidence, you have to make the decision about what you’re going to do. For us, it was hey she’s done there for the year at this point,” said Naab, “You would want your kid to have the worst thing be stressing about going to school because of a science test, not I’m afraid to go to school because I’m scared to walk down the halls because I think I’m going to get assaulted and that’s what its come to and the teachers I think are just as scared as the kids are.”

TV6 reached out to the Bettendorf Education Association for comment and received a statement stating, ”The Bettendorf Education Association supports our district and community in the goal of providing a safe and supportive learning environment for all students and staff. We have worked with our building and district administration throughout the year as we have been faced with increasing behavior challenges. These challenging behaviors did not appear overnight and will take time and a community effort to change. We are pleased to hear of meetings happening quickly with staff, students, and families. From the meetings, we would like to see an action plan with a timeline for implementation and ways to make sure the plan is being followed. We look forward to continuing to work with our school community to ensure our students and staff are safe and supported.”

Bettendorf Community School District replied stating -

“The conduct and behavior of our middle school students were brought up during the public comment section of last week’s Board of Education meeting. Our first priority as a district is to create a safe environment where students can learn and thrive. As we returned to the classroom following the pandemic, our district, like many across the nation, has seen more extreme behavior exhibited by some students. We have students who are much quieter than usual and others who are acting out much more frequently. It is a difficult time to be a young person, educator, and parent. We recognize parents are their child’s first teacher and primary disciplinarian. All of us at Bettendorf Community School District believe each child is inherently good who wants to learn, have friends, and be part of a responsible student body. We believe students and staff have the right to feel safe at every school in our district, and we recognize there is more work to be done to create a safe learning environment. However, we can only ensure a safe school environment by collaborating with students, staff, and parents. Therefore, we will be hosting a series of meetings for students, staff, and parents to gain additional insights and develop solutions. We are hosting a BMS Parent & Staff Work Session on May 25. At the work session, we will share the steps that are in place and engage participants in the discussion and possible solutions. We are establishing a summer workgroup to take that work and develop plans and structures to be implemented for next school year.”

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