Huntsville school officials say they'll address violence issues at Rolling Hills

Two months after our first story on disciplinary problems at Rolling Hills Elementary School, Huntsville City Schools interim superintendent Tom Drake finally admitted the school district needed to step in.

Posted: Nov. 7, 2017 1:07 PM

(Note: This story originally aired in February 2017)
"We will continue to work with Rolling Hills to develop steps correct the school's issues," Drake said Thursday night at a Huntsville City Schools Board of Education work session.

The school district knew what WAAY 31's investigation uncovered, because we interviewed school board president Elisa Ferrell and showed her evidence of students injuring teachers. WAAY 31 uncovered 14 different reports of students injuring teachers within the last two years.

Drake finally addressed steps to stop aggressive behavior by students at the school board's work session Thursday night, hours before our investigation aired.

"The fifth and sixth grade hallway, we've made that a priority hallway for our campus security," Drake said at the meeting. The district didn't answer calls Friday seeking to clarify what that meant.

Teachers who spoke out to WAAY 31 said additional security officers were on campus Friday.

Drake also said their director of behavioral learning will offer more training to staff.

"We have asked our principal to meet with two mentors that we have for our system," he said.

One thing teachers told WAAY 31, is they felt the district was turning a blind eye to their complaints and not properly punishing students. Instead of addressing how the district would discipline aggressive students in the future, Drake only mentioned it would work with them to make students' attitudes more positive.

"That is a slower process than if you used some type of discipline that might be some type of punitive action," Drake said.
Drake did not take any questions about the problems at Rolling Hills and ended the work session by asking the community to be patient while the district makes changes at the school.

"We will get there," he said.

WAAY 31 also reached out to incoming Superintendent, Matt Akin, for his response to our investigation. He did not respond to our request.

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