BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Teachers Union has announced the creation of a school safety task force following three assaults on school staffers this month.
A district statement said a Baltimore Polytechnic Institute physics teacher was punched by a 16-year-old student who was upset over being given a detention Wednesday.
An 11th-grader in her class was upset over an email she had sent to his parents about an overdue detention he had yet to serve. She said before she was actually hit, she had already felt threatened by the student.
The teacher was punched once in her arm, and then again in her chest. She said it happened so fast she barely had time to react.
She credits her class for stopping what she believes could have been a worse attack.
The teacher, 11th-grade physics teacher Leonila Tacderan said she's not quite ready to be seen in public yet, but she said she does want people to know she was hurt in this attack and that she is having a difficult time processing what happened.
Tacderan is seeing a doctor for her injuries, and said she is horrified by the string of recently seen assaults on school staff, saying she never thought she'd be the victim of one.
Tacderan said she may actually seek counseling, and it's unclear if she'll be returning to Poly.
On campus, students who saw the video were disappointed.
"I think we as students should do better," said Cameron Ward, a 10th-grader at Poly.
The school district condemned the violence and said they are looking forward with the task force.
That was a day after City Union of Baltimore President Antoinette Ryan-Johnson says a cafeteria worker at the National Academy Foundation suffered a broken arm in an alleged assault involving multiple students.
And earlier this month, cellphone video showed a 17-year-old student punching a teacher at Frederick Douglass High School.
The task force will convene Dec. 14 to examine the district's code of conduct. The task force will include community leaders, clergy, parents and legislators.
The city schools responded to the Poly incident with the following statement:
Fighting and physical conflict must have no place in our schools. When such incidents occur, those who participate will receive consequences in accordance with the code of conduct, the law, or both.
Our most important work is to ensure that schools are safe and positive places for teaching and learning. While the code of conduct outlines disciplinary response, the priority must be to manage and resolve conflict before it escalates to physical confrontation. Programs including restorative practices, social-emotional learning, de-escalation, mediation, and conflict resolution are in place in many of our schools, and these efforts will continue and expand as we focus on creating school environments where both staff and students can thrive. In partnership with a Baltimore Teachers Union task force that includes representatives from across the city, district staff will be working to promote positive behavior among our students and ensure safety for our staff and all members of our school communities.
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