Ponchatoula teachers, parents rally over school safety

Ponchatoula teachers, parents rally over school safety
Teachers and parents line up along a street in Ponchatoula to protest teacher safety (Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Teachers in Ponchatoula walked out Thursday morning to protest the removal of two teachers last week who broke up a fight.

A mix of students, teachers and parents rallied all morning for solidarity with the two teachers who were removed from the school, and to call for some clarity in public policy.

In the video, it appears the Ponchatoula Jr. High School teacher is holding down a student after the mother of the student said the student was in a fight. Organizers said more than 40 teachers attended the protest, but the superintendent said approximately nine teachers out of 43 did not attend class.

Superintendent Melissa Stillest said teachers were given a chance Tuesday night to voice their concerns during a school board meeting and the district will develop new policies and procedures for handling violence on school campuses in the new school year.

However, parents and some teachers said they want to know what the policy is now for the safety of students. They added this is a big concern because there has been an increase of fights at the school.

As for now, teachers at the protest said they will not engage physically in fights but will try verbal de-escalation. Stilley said classes will go on despite this protest.

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