New York teachers face many obstacles in opening weeks of school

Onondaga County

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — Welcoming students back into the classroom full-time was exciting and nerve-wracking for most teachers, with more obstacles caused by more than the pandemic.

“Behaviors were definitely going to be escalated,” said Nicole Capsello, president of the Syracuse Teachers Association. “They haven’t had to be in a structured setting following rules and complying with things, so I think everybody knew that was going to be challenging to begin with.”

The school year is off to a rockier start than most could have imagined. A chaotic day ensued at Henninger High School Wednesday when multiple fights broke out and teachers uncovered many construction-related issues, including doors without locks, nonfunctional security cameras, and fire alarms without covers.

This led to students being asked to stay home Thursday. When they returned on Friday, a fire started in a bathroom sent students home early. “Everybody right now is feeling a little defeated. But I will say that this is not just a one-building issue, it’s not just a one-school district issue,” Capsello said. “It is a societal issue.”

She believes the recent uptick in youth violence in our community and the staffing shortages across all positions, from custodians to food service workers to teachers and administrators is contributing to the rise in obstacles. “We definitely need more adults to be able to come in and help alleviate,” she said.

Capsello believes the teachers she represents need more support. “Clear communication across all parties involved and a partnership with our community is really what’s going to get to the heart of things,” she said. Because it takes a village to not only raise but educate a child.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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