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Anchorage superintendent asks parents to talk to students about rising tide of bad behavior

The Anchorage School District is asking parents to talk to their children about a rise in bad...
The Anchorage School District is asking parents to talk to their children about a rise in bad behavior at schools.(ktuu)
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 4:38 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage School Superintendent Deena Bishop said it’s been a rough start to the school year. From a fight at Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School last week that prompted a large police response, to a TikTok challenge where students did thousands of dollars in damage to school bathrooms, Bishop said there has been a rise in rude, even violent behavior.

She said the pandemic may in part be to blame.

“We are just finding, more and more, our young people, our children, are mostly as stressed out as the rest of us,” Bishop said. “And the stress and the anxiety in the community has taken effect. And we just want to work with our parents to find solutions to this.”

According to the school district’s student suspensions dashboard, the number of suspensions since the school year began is nearly 800, mostly at the secondary level. A district spokesperson explained that while the number is not particularly high, the severity of the incidents has increased, involving fights, assaults and drug and alcohol issues.

Bishop said teachers are also reporting younger students who seem to have lost the coping skills they need to calm down. She cited too many incidents where patience and respect were lacking and, in a recent newsletter, asked parents to intervene.

“If you are seeing it at home, guess what’s happening in our schools,” said Bishop of the bad behavior. “And so that’s why we really wanted to reach out and say, let’s talk to our kids.”

Bishop cited two incidents in which a racist, derogatory term was used during an altercation at both a middle and high school. She said racism of any type will not be tolerated. The Anchorage School Board passed an anti-racism policy this spring and Bishop said district staff will be getting training on that this semester.

“We want to let our students know we welcome them, we love them,” said Bishop. “But we won’t tolerate some of those poor behaviors.”

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