Changes Follow Teacher’s Criticism of Green Bay District’s School Safety

A former teacher in the district said she feared for her safety every day.

Facing criticism from a teacher about school safety, a Green Bay, Wisconsin school district announced July 10 that security improvements are underway.

Officials with the Green Bay Area School District say they have hired more school staff members and are planning to increase training and community partnerships in the coming months.

“We intend to hold parent meetings, neighborhood meetings and develop new partnerships with community organizations relative to health care, after school programing, service organizations, etc.,” District Executive Director of Secondary Education Thomas Hoh said. “We plan to continue to develop teachers professionally, staff professionally and provide teacher mentoring support.”

The changes were announced at a school board meeting where a teacher again accused the district of inadequately safeguarding the campus of Washington Middle School.

Former Washington teacher Kerstin Westcott made headlines when she resigned two weeks ago, citing abuse, violence and sexual harassment on the middle school’s campus.

In a June public meeting with the school board, Westcott described verbal and physical abuse from students against classmates and teachers, and even mentioned that students had started multiple fires in school hallways, reports

At the more recent meeting, Westcott claimed a student threatened her by suggesting she may get shot and, in a separate incident, her car was vandalized on school property with thumb tacks.

“We don’t have a couple kids bucking the system,” Westcott told the school board. “We have dozens of kids committing violent and aggressive acts in our school, many of which are crimes.”

District Superintendent Michelle Langenfield noted that many students come from complicated situations and the district has partnered with the Green Bay Police Department, the Boys & Girls Club, mental health organizations, Achieve Brown County and Oral health Partners. The district also employs school resource officers.

“We’re at a place and time where schools can’t do this alone,” Langenfield said.

Washington Middle School Principal Dennis Christensen said the school has already seen progress since making changes during the last school year.

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