GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) Green Bay Police say they're working with the Green Bay Public School District to ensure all students and staff are safe after a Washington Middle School teacher voiced concerns to the school board and resigned earlier this month, alleging repeated abuse and violence by students at Washington Middle School.
Police say they see fighting and aggressive behavior among students at schools throughout the district.
"We're seeing a lot of that behavior in all the schools. It's not just Washington Middle School, and it's not just Green Bay Schools. I deal with a lot of school resource officers throughout the state of Wisconsin. A lot of the problems that the teacher talked about and the problems that I'm seeing in the reports are happening statewide," says Green Bay Police Lt. Jeff Brester.
Brester oversees the school resource officers for the district and says most problems come at the middle and high school levels.
"A lot of it is going on. We're getting a lot of fights. We're getting a lot of students swearing, things like that. Cell phones are a big problem for us right now. The texting during class, the sexting among minors," he says.
Police get involved when safety is a concern or there's criminal activity.
We asked for a breakdown of police calls for service to Green Bay's five middle schools during the last school year.
Washington had the most with 132 calls.
Franklin was next with 109, followed by Lombardi with 52, Edison with 48 and Red Smith with 24.
Those calls involve anything from disturbances to drugs and weapons to truancy.
One incident at Washington Middle School this past year, police say, involved students who were mad at a teacher and knew she had an allergy to certain lotions or perfumes. They say students wore those fragrances and walked near the teacher, causing an allergic reaction.
In that case, Brester says students were issued disorderly conduct citations.
He says resource officers issue municipal tickets in hopes it curbs behavior.
"The message is out there. Some kids just don't care," he says.
If problems continue, police send kids through juvenile intake, which gets counselors or possibly the courts, involved.
Brester says there could be many reasons for the problems, from age to kids not willing to accept discipline or authority.
"A big thing we need, though, is parental support. The police department cannot solve this problem. We need the parents to be on board with us, to help discipline their children and hold children accountable. It starts at home," he says.
Brester says police are looking at adding additional uniformed officers in some schools and will work with the district over the summer to take other proactive measures before the next school year begins.
"Our schools are safe. We do as much training as we can. Our officers are always there," says Brester.