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TUSD investigates fights, discipline problems

Posted at 3:27 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 17:27:56-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Racism, bullying, insolence to teachers and language we really can't repeat.  All of that happening at Tucson Unified School District's Secrist Middle School.
 
The school racked up so many discipline cases, a special team was sent into the school to see what was wrong and to try to make it right.
 
Heather Woods has a daughter at Secrist.
 
"She comes home and says there's fights almost every day and recently there's also been an incident where after school one of the teachers some of his papers were set on fire."
 
Woods thinks the troubles stem from consolidating with another school and relying on too many substitute teachers.
 
Secrist had so many discipline complaints the district sent a task force  to investigate.
 
Administrators say they saw a student push a child in a wheelchair off the sidewalk.
 
They saw students say things like, "You orangutan looking b****", I can't wait to be homies in prison and find little white boys to make my b**** and rape their little white a**".
 
A student said, "if you look at me again, I'm going to kill you," then used a crutch to pretend to shoot up the room.
 
To teachers, students yelled, "f*** you!", flipped teachers the finger, and walked out of class.
 
They threw things like glass lab beakers, texted on phones, played games on school computers, or just walked out of class.
 
Michael Konrad oversees TUSD's middle schools.  He says kids were disciplined, but it wasn't applied consistently.
 
"...then you see their behaviors continue to escalate because they're not entirely sure what the boundaries are."
 
Students have stretched the boundaries and found the boundaries stretched pretty far.
 
"What we're working on now is making sure they understand what our expectation truly is and making sure those boundaries are applied in a consistent manner," said Konrad.
 
He says teachers discouraged enough to consider quitting are feeling more optimistic, but there's more work to do.
 
"We have teachers who have said if the environment doesn't get better I'm gonna leave.  What I'm thankful that I'm hearing as I've been going to the school site as frequently as I have.  I now have teachers coming and telling me, 'you know what? I'm seeing improvements. I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel." 
 
And Konrad says teachers are getting more training on how to keep Secrist a disciplined place to learn.
 
TUSD will talk about Secrist's discipline problems and the road to solutions at a PTA meeting tomorrow night.
 
The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Secrist Middle School located at 3400 South Houghton Road.