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Dilworth teachers plead with WCSD Trustees to address student behavior

The front exterior of the Dilworth Middle School building and parking lot.
Jose Davila IV
KUNR Public Radio
A view of Dilworth Middle School on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Sparks, Nev.

At Tuesday evening’s Washoe County School District Board of Trustees meeting, a group of Dilworth teachers pleaded with the members for more support in addressing student behavior.

At the end of the meeting, Dilworth teacher Lauren Forbus stepped to the podium and shared the story of her assault at the hands of a student on December 15.

“I feel scared to go back. I have concerns about future behaviors and concerns of safety for my staff and my students, my family members,” she shared. “I’m not the only one assaulted. I am not the only one that’s worried and afraid.”

Forbus asked the board to review its disciplinary policies. She also praised her fellow Dilworth staff members and complimented the school community.

Three other Dilworth teachers and Calen Evans, president of the Washoe Education Association, the teachers’ union, gave public comments to the board. Each implored the district to do more to support its teachers, in pay and through policy. Some shared other behaviors they had witnessed, including verbal and physical attacks. Others said that their mental health suffered as a result of those experiences.

Evans and others have called for increased teacher pay and reduced class sizes. Some teachers have also asked for a reconsideration of the state-mandated restorative discipline plan that they say restricts their ability to adequately address unwanted behavior.

The board has been trying to address some of those concerns. Earlier in the meeting, the board approved a memo of understanding with the teachers’ union that included a stipend of at least $500 for all teachers in recognition of their work through ongoing vacancies.

Jose Davila IV is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Jose Davila IV is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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