Anchorage schools see increase in fights, behavioral issues

The Anchorage School District Education Center. (Mayowa Aina/Alaska Public Media)

There’s been an increase in rude, violent behavior in Anchorage schools, and the superintendent wants parents to help address it with children.

The bad behavior has included a fight at a high school that prompted a large police response, along with a TikTok challenge where students caused thousands of dollars in damage to school bathrooms, KTUU-TV reported.

Superintendent Deena Bishop said the pandemic may be behind the behavior.

“We are just finding, more and more, our young people, our children, are mostly as stressed out as the rest of us,” Bishop said. “And the stress and the anxiety in the community has taken effect. And we just want to work with our parents to find solutions to this.”

The state’s largest school district has had nearly 800 suspensions this year, most at the secondary level. Officials say while that’s not necessarily a high number, it’s the severity of the incidents that has increased, including fights, assaults and drug and alcohol issues.

Teachers also report younger children seem to have lost the coping skills they need to calm down, Bishop said. In a recent newsletter, she asked parents to intervene after students in many incidents lacked respect and patience.

“If you are seeing it at home, guess what’s happening in our schools,” Bishop said of the bad behavior. “And so that’s why we really wanted to reach out and say, let’s talk to our kids.”

She cited incidents in which a racist term was used during separate altercations at different schools, noting that racism of any type will not be tolerated.

“We want to let our students know we welcome them, we love them,” Bishop said. “But we won’t tolerate some of those poor behaviors.”

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