BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Education Fact-Finding Commission is recommending that Bismarck Public Schools create a new committee to discuss teacher safety concerns.
The commission issued their recommendation Wednesday following a public impasse hearing last week, The Bismarck Tribune reported. During the impasse several teachers spoke of violence they’ve encountered in their classrooms.
The commission suggested the school district establish a safety and health committee to look into the incidents in response to the testimonies and the Bismarck Education Association’s proposal to add safe workplace language into teacher contracts.
“A safety and health committee. … would allow the district a more positive process for improvement and communication than placing language in a negotiated agreement,” the recommendation said. “There is no language that the commission could recommend for the negotiated agreement that would solve the safety issues that were communicated at the hearing.”
The commission also suggested the district consider working with the community by hosting parenting classes and anger management classes for children and adults. They also suggested gathering input from mental health professionals and law enforcement.
The teachers union and the district would appoint members to the committee.
Association negotiator Toni Gumeringers says she was pleased with the commission’s recommendation for a committee.
Other North Dakota districts have also cited workplace complaints, including Fargo.
“We have training, and I don’t think that was ever our issue,” Gumeringer said. “What we really wanted was that line of communication between teachers and administration to be more open.”
In addition to the recommendations of safety and health, the commission also recommended teachers receive a salary increase.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com