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Teachers worry about students bullying, fighting, stealing, and having weapons at school


A majority of Alamance-Burlington teachers apparently believe that student discipline continues to be a problem, with just over half saying that students follow rules of conduct at school.

Approximately 49 percent of ABSS teachers said that physical altercations between students are a problem at their schools; 34 percent identified vandalism by students as a problem; and 18 percent identified student possession of weapons as a problem at their school, based on the latest biennial teacher working conditions survey.

The 2020 survey differs from those administered in previous years by asking teachers to identify whether any of those three behaviors “rarely occurs” at school. Respondents were also polled about the frequency of bullying – both in-person and online.

About 53 percent of ABSS teachers (compared to 42 percent statewide) indicated that students commonly bully one another – by teasing, threatening, spreading rumors, and/or shoving or assaulting other students – at school, based on the latest biennial teacher working conditions survey.

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Forty-three percent of ABSS teachers (compared to 34 percent statewide) indicated students at their school bully one another online – by sending “mean text messages”; spreading rumors through email and on social media; and posting embarrassing pictures, videos, other harmful material – according to the 2020 survey.

ABSS teachers identified the following as the most frequent reasons why students bullied one another: race (35 percent); ethnicity (34 percent); cultural background (32 percent); and religion (16 percent). Seventy-nine percent of ABSS teachers said students felt comfortable reporting bullying incidents to a teacher or school administrator.

The survey is administered every two years and intended to gauge teachers’ perceptions about the climate in North Carolina public schools.

ABSS teachers and their counterparts across North Carolina were asked to indiSurvey (Continued from page 1) cate whether they agreed with six or more questions within multiple categories that included how they use their time at school; their ability to manage student conduct; the physical conditions of the buildings they work in; parent and community support; and school leadership.

Approximately 33 percent of ABSS teachers indicated that their schools aren’t “clean and well-maintained,” versus 21 percent of teachers statewide who didn’t feel their schools are clean and well maintained.

The 2020 survey also includes several other new questions, such as whether support is adequate for beginning teachers; whether rules are applied consistently to all students; and whether students have equal access to programs, resources, and instructional materials that reflect the diversity of the student population.

ABSS had a 94.8 percent response rate, meaning that 1,732 teachers, out of a total of 1,827, responded to the 2020 teacher working conditions survey. The statewide response rate was 84.5 percent, with 102,545 out of 121,424 teachers across the state completing the survey.

The survey was created by the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards Commission in 2000; it has been administered every two years since 2002.

School board members have not publicly discussed the responses to the 2020 teacher working conditions survey. Results from this year’s survey were presented to the State Board of Education earlier this month.

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