State teacher union leader says violence against staff is making teacher shortage worse

The state’s top teachers’ union leader said violence against staff is only making the teacher shortage at schools worse.

Georgia Association of Educators President Lisa Morgan said part of the teacher shortage issue is violence and discipline in the schools.

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“We have a teacher shortage here in Georgia, as I’m sure you’re well aware, and for many of the educators who have chosen to leave, part of that has been the issue of violence and discipline in our schools,” said Morgan.

Morgan said discipline became more difficult after the pandemic. Now, she said we’re seeing the outbursts more frequently.

Wednesday, video surfaced of elementary students brawling on a bus in Dekalb County.

A few days earlier, a ninth grader was arrested for fighting her teacher at Heritage High School. That teacher, Tiwana Turner, was hospitalized with a broken leg.

On WSB Tonight at 11 p.m., Turner told Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco she is continuing to heal.

“Though my injuries are extensive, I know I will continue to heal and become stronger day by day.”

A go fund me page to help her with medical bills has raised more than $11,000.

“Thank you to all parents, students, fellow educators, family, friends, and other outstanding people who are supporting me, praying for me, and showing much love to me during this time,” said Turner.

The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office said it charged the ninth grader as a juvenile, but the district attorney still has the option to charge her as an adult.

The teachers’ union leader said part of the solution comes from the community.


“They’re [students] seeing so much violence in their daily lives that it’s just manifesting itself in their behavior at schools,” said Morgan.

She said schools must start enforcing codes of conduct consistently and ensure students understand disciplinary actions they will face when they misbehave.

Plus, she said parents need to work with educators when they hear their student has done something wrong.

“It’s hard to hear your child has done something wrong, but work together with the educators,” said Morgan.

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