In a weekly newsletter, the Bettendorf Community School District Superintendent addressed the recent issues happening at Bettendorf Middle School among students.

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According to our news partner Local 4 News, at a recent Bettendorf school board meeting, teachers and parents were claiming that poorly behaved students were taking over Bettendorf Middle School. They expressed their anger during the Bettendorf School Board meeting back on May 12.

Local 4 reports that parents said the administration hasn’t stepped in to handle students with these behavioral issues. During the school board meeting, teachers shared stories about students who showed terrible behavior like cursing at them, skipping class, starting fights, and throwing food around the cafeteria.

The behavior of these students has been so bad that one teacher actually announced her early resignation, according to Local 4 News.

In a weekly newsletter sent on Friday, May 20th, Bettendorf Community School District Superintendent, Dr. Michelle Morse, responded to the recent behavioral problems among students.

Titled, Let's Work Together, Safety in Our School, Dr. Morse wrote,

As you may know, the conduct and behavior of our middle school students was brought up during the public comment section of last week’s Board of Education meeting. The school was characterized as unsafe and students as violent and unruly. As the Superintendent of Bettendorf Community Schools, my first priority is to create a safe environment where your student can learn and thrive.

As we returned to the classroom following the pandemic, our district, like many across the nation, have seen more extreme behavior exhibited by some students. We have students who are much quieter than usual and others who are acting out much more frequently. It is a difficult time to be a young person, educator, and parent.

We recognize parents are their child’s first teacher and primary disciplinarian. All of us at Bettendorf Community School District believe each child is inherently good who wants to learn, have friends, and be part of a responsible student body. We believe students and staff have the right to feel safe at every school in our district, and we recognize there is more work to be done to create a safe learning environment.

However, we can only ensure a safe school environment by collaborating with students, staff and parents.

We have met with the staff and parents who spoke at the meeting to talk about and address their concerns. We have additional meetings next week with a group of BMS students, staff, and a third with staff and parents. We will share the steps that are in place and engage participants in the discussion and possible solutions. We are also establishing a summer workgroup to take that work and develop plans and structures to be implemented for next school year.

Although our primary work is with Bettendorf Middle School, we will be looking into opportunities for improvement with safety, building relationships and accountability throughout the district.

It is vitally important that students and staff feel safe in their learning environments. We are committed to identifying concerns and addressing them. If you have concerns you would like addressed, please contact your school office or me - (563) 359-3681, mmorse@bettendorf.k12.ia.us.

This work requires the collaboration of all of us - students, staff, parents, and even the community. We thank you for your involvement and support as we continue to work to make our schools even better.

Respectfully,

Dr. Michelle Morse

Superintendent

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