‘We've Had Enough': Anacostia Teachers Push DCPS for Change

"We know our kids deserve better. We know we deserve better"

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Teachers overwhelmed by violence and COVID-19 chose not to teach at one Southeast D.C. school on Friday and instead spent the day urging administrators to address their concerns.

Bullet holes marked the front door of Anacostia High School on Friday after a shooting Wednesday night, and teachers there say being afraid for their safety is nothing new. 

“As a staff, we came together today and said, ‘Well, that’s enough. We’ve had enough,’” world history teacher Brandi Byrd said. 

Byrd and geometry teacher Chris Whigham sent photos from their meeting with a DC Public Schools leader. They said every unionized teacher was there. 

Teachers’ concerns included violence, COVID safety, a lack of heat in the building, and students getting into fights and yelling at teachers. 

“Educators and other staff members have been injured or hit, or they’ve been spit on,” Byrd said. 

They said an assistant superintendent listened to their concerns and promised to spend the weekend coming up with solutions.

“We know our kids deserve better. We know we deserve better. But knowing that we don’t really know what better really looks like right now is one of the biggest things weighing over all of us,” Whigham said. 

DCPS said in a statement to News4: “The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. We are in touch with our teachers regarding their concerns and working to resume the school day. We remain in constant communication with the Metropolitan Police Department regarding the safety of our school neighborhoods.”

The teachers said Anacostia High students were supervised on Friday by non-union staff and given the option to do a social-emotional learning activity. 

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