Teachers claim ‘morale and discipline crisis’ in Paso Robles schools

Posted at 9:45 PM, May 22, 2018

Teachers within the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District are speaking out, saying there’s a crisis in student discipline and teacher morale.

The teachers surveyed themselves and the results show teachers are overwhelmed by their students and are not pleased with how administration helps them. They presented a report Tuesday night to the district’s board of trustees.

"We have a crisis of teacher morale across the district and we have a crisis of student discipline," said high school teacher Mark Bradford.

Nearly 200 teachers within 16 different schools responded to the Paso Robles Public Educators Morale Discipline Teacher Survey. The results were sobering.

"One teacher commented, ‘I feel that my voice doesn’t matter. As an educator, I feel like I know what my kids need yet admin keeps taking away tools that help me make my students lifelong learners,’" a teacher told the board.

"I feel like I’ve given my heart and soul to the place but in 27 years, I’ve seen an erosion of student discipline, respect towards teachers and towards one another," Bradford said.

Bradford pioneered the survey after writing an open letter of grievances to the board back in October. He says progress has been made but not enough.


"This district does wonderful, powerful things but there’s another side to it. We’ve got serious issues that we’ve ignored too long," said Bradford.

Teachers wrote, "Bad behaviors are escalating. Large classes. Very hard to teach" and "I don’t think administration understand how overwhelmed we are."

"We don’t go into this job because of the money. We go into this job because of the kids and the difference we can make, so I found that rather disheartening," Bradford said.

Survey results showed 64 percent of teachers were reluctant to speak up for fear of retaliation.

"I have been targeted for speaking out," one teacher wrote.

"This is not a time to point fingers. Nobody is looking at our administration and saying, ‘You’re not helping us.’ We’re saying things need to change and those changes come from all the stakeholders, which is administration and teachers, parents and you guys," one teacher told the board.

Board members thanked teachers for having the courage to speak up and said they’re willing to have more conversations about more change in the future. They do say, however, some issues are out of their control due to state and federal education guidelines.

You can find the full survey results here.