District addresses safety concerns at Washington Middle School

By  | 

Green Bay, Wis. (WBAY)- We're learning more from the Green Bay Area School District about what's being done to improve safety at Washington Middle School.

It's been almost two weeks since we first heard of the issues-- after a teacher announced she was resigning due to safety concerns over abuse and violence at the school.

Kerstin Westcott testified in front of the school board early last month, outlining concerns including students swearing at teachers, physical abuse towards both teachers and students, and even students starting fires in school hallways.

Now-- we're hearing from Westcott, among others, at a school board meeting where the safety issues were addressed.

The issue has been in the spotlight since a video first went public, showing former Washington Middle School teacher Kerstin Westcott making allegations of sexual harassment and violence on school property.

Westcott testified again at Monday night's school board meeting, saying,"I am here today because I still haven't heard answers to the questions I raised on June 5th. We cannot do the same things that you said at the press conference you have been working on for years and still expect a different result this fall."

Westcott says her own car was vandalized by a student, using thumb tacks---and that another student threatened her suggesting she might be shot.

"We don't have a couple kids bucking the system, we have dozens of kids committing violent and aggressive acts in our school, many of which are crimes," said Westcott.

The Green Bay Area School District has attempted make changes to improve safety--- some which include the hiring of more staff, and increasing hallway and cafeteria supervision.

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

The school principal says some progress has been made already.

Washington Middle School Principal Dennis Christensen added, "We see students with improved attendance. We see students improved in their academics. We have students who won essay contests."