CHARLOTTE, NC - There are new calls for change after a fight between a student and a teaching assistant inside South Mecklenburg High School.
Several students recorded cell phone video of the fight Monday morning.
It brought back bad memories for Annette Albright.
“It was heartbreaking,” she said.
Albright is a former CMS employee who was in the middle of another brawl inside Harding High School in 2016. She claims she was attacked by students and was fired when she filed a worker’s compensation claim. She says she reached a settlement with CMS after filing a lawsuit.
She doesn’t think much has changed to protect teachers in the last two years and is pushing for changes.
“I’m hearing that teachers do not feel safe. I’m hearing behaviors in the students are leading to mental issues in teachers, such as depression and anxiety,” Albright said.
Albright wants district leaders to train teachers on de-escalating situations, hold students accountable for their actions, and talk to teachers and staff members about why altercations happen.
“Just as we protect our students, we have to protect our teachers. They’re working in hostile work environments,” Albright said.
In response to Channel 9’s questions about whether the student involved in the fight on Monday would face consequences, a CMS spokesman said he could not comment on individual cases, but any student who does not follow the Code of Student Conduct will be disciplined.
A classmate who witnessed the fight, but did not want to be identified, told us he should be.
“He started punching her and we were surprised because that’s never happened,” the classmate said.
Albright said she believes this is a culture issue that CMS needs to address.
“A school environment is supposed to be a place that’s safe,” she said.
A CMS spokesperson told Channel 9 that district leaders review safety and security procedures on an on-going basis.
Albright added if CMS does not make changes to protect teachers, it may keep the district from attracting new teachers and retaining ones currently in the district.
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