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Parents, teachers voice safety concerns over environment at Mitchell Middle School

NOW: Parents, teachers voice safety concerns over environment at Mitchell Middle School

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Parents and teachers are fed up with the disorganized, and sometimes dangerous, environment at Mitchell Middle School in Racine.

The Racine Education Association, a union for teachers and other Racine Unified School District staff, has filed a grievance against the district.

The filing claims students are being suspended at a shocking rate and teachers are being hurt on the job.

Students confirm there is little control in the classrooms.

"The students have learned to overpower my teacher and she can't do anything about it,” said Kaitlynn Yates, an eighth grader.

Kaitlynn’s mother and other parents like Nicole Sharkey-Riemer, who has two daughters at Mitchell, worry their children aren’t getting a proper education.

"It has been terrible,” Sharkey-Riemer said. “There's fights daily, there's violence against the teachers."

Johnathan Hudson, an eighth-grader, says he’s seen teachers injured trying to break up fights.

In a statement, an RUSD spokesperson said,

“We have scheduled a meeting with the union to further discuss their concerns. In addition to that, since receiving the grievance last month the District has made a leadership change at the school and is providing additional resources and support. We are hearing from individual staff and families that they are already seeing progress and improvement. The school is also reaching out to families to ask for their support and involvement in making changes to positively impact the school environment. What has been circulating online and in the media in recent days does not reflect the wonderful students, staff and families of Mitchell School.”

About the new principal, Sharkey-Riemer is encouraged.

"The new principal is definitely very hands-on and from what I can see, he seems to be coming in with a mentality that we can turn this school around,” she said.

The president of Racine Educators United, Angelina Cruz, said in a statement:

“Student safety is a top priority of Racine educators and we work every day to help our pupils overcome the increasing barriers to learning with which they’re entering our classrooms. We’ve urged the state and district to fund more mental health services and trauma-informed care, and to be sure staffing levels are appropriate. From more supervision in hallways to restorative practices that build healthy schools and reduce violence, Racine teachers will continue advancing solutions and partnering with families to make sure students are safe.”

Sharkey-Riemer says the school’s planned a meeting with parents next Wednesday from 5-7 p.m.

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