Local Teachers Push for More Power to Discipline Students

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Members of the local Classroom Teachers Association say more authority is needed to hold students accountable.

They argue discipline is needed in the classroom the help reduce school violence.

Ben Fields lost his job after video went viral in 2015 showing him pulling a student from her seat and slamming her to the ground at a school in Columbia, South Carolina.

He says the decision to fire him was a rush to judgement.

“Leadership is just weak. They don’t support teachers. They don’t support law enforcement officers who are doing their job and doing the right thing,” Fields says.

He shared his experience in Charlotte at a school safety forum on Tuesday. Organizers say teachers don’t have enough power to discipline students.

“It’s a hard job. And most of the people fighting against law enforcement and fighting against teachers have never actually done the job themselves,” Fields says.

Teachers like Judy Kidd criticize efforts to reduce suspensions and expulsions.

“It’s not that I feel that suspension is the best policy, but sometimes suspension is the only way to remove a student from a situation the student can’t prosper in,” Kidd says.

Critics argue a disproportionate number of minority students are suspended or expelled each year.

Max Eden co-authored a book with the father of a student killed in the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

“Our contention is this was the most avoidable mass murder in American history. But the policies that made it inevitable have spread to schools across the country,” Eden says.

He argues policies in Broward County Public Schools kept the Parkland shooter from facing discipline over several years in the district.

“We force schools towards leniency to look like they have no problems, all the ends up happening is things get systematically swept under the rug,” Eden.