Teachers resign over assault, death threats from students

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BURTON (WJRT) - (11/01/16) - Teachers are speaking out against a Mid-Michigan charter school where they say some of the students have gone wild.

Accusations of death threats and even physical violence has forced five teachers to resign in just the first couple months of the school year at Burton Glen Academy.

It's a charter school that is overseen by Northern Michigan University.

The teachers who spoke exclusively with ABC12 News wanted to stay anonymous. One eighth grade teacher hit her tipping point when she says a student purposely threw a ball at her head. She's now suffering from a head injury with memory loss and headaches.

She says it's not just this one incident either.

"I know at least three of us [teachers] have had death threats from the kids. I would hold it together and I would leave and cry in my car at the end of the day," she said.

Since this school year started, in just a two week period, five teachers quit. Some of them tell ABC12 News the discipline plan in place isn't enough.

"It was always put back on the teachers 'you need to build relationships, you need to watch classroom management videos,'" the eighth grade teacher said.

They are speaking out, hoping for change for the students' sake.

"There were some kids that I would have liked to say goodbye to because there were some kids who were so good and so kind," the eighth grade teacher said.

The principal of the school is responding to some of the behavioral issues raised.

"Just like in any school there are behaviors that occur. I think the thing that we need take away from it is that they are addressed," said Denesha Rawls-Smith. "Those behaviors are addressed readily and right away. We have a student code of conduct. We have high expectation for our students behaviors and when they don't meet that we address them quickly."


The following is the entire statement from Northern Michigan University:

"Northern Michigan University is aware that there has been some teacher attrition at Burton Glen Charter School Academy. The details concerning the reasons or rational for leaving employment at the academy are not directly reported to Northern Michigan University.

Northern Michigan University is aware that there have been a number of student behavioral issues at the academy that have been of concern by the academy leadership and the university.

The Northern Michigan University Charter Schools Office is in the process of reviewing the current situation and school environment at the academy by performing site visits to make future decision and determinations concerning the status of the academy."

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