SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR) – Welcoming students into the classroom full-time was exciting and scary for most teachers, with more obstacles caused by more than just the pandemic.
“The behaviors were sure to escalate,” said Nicole Capsello, president of the Syracuse Teachers Association. “They didn’t have to be in a structured framework following the rules and conforming to things, so I think everyone knew it was going to be difficult at first.”
The school year is starting more difficult than most could have imagined. A chaotic day ensued at Henninger High School on Wednesday when several fights broke out and teachers discovered many construction issues, including doors without locks, non-functioning security cameras and fire alarms without covers.
This led to the students being asked to stay home on Thursday. When they returned on Friday, a fire broke out in a bathroom and sent the students home earlier. “Everyone at the moment is feeling a bit defeated. But I’ll say it’s not just a one-building problem, it’s not just a school district problem, ”Capsello said. “It’s a social problem.
She believes the recent increase in youth violence in our community and staff shortages in all positions, from caretakers and restaurant workers to teachers and administrators, are contributing to increasing barriers. “We definitely need more adults to be able to come and help relieve,” she said.
Capsello believes the teachers she represents need more support. “Clear communication between all parties involved and a partnership with our community is really what’s going to get to the heart of this,” she said. Because it takes a village not only to raise but educate a child.