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Indiana is struggling with a massive shortage of teachers ahead of the new school year.

In total, more than 2,300 educator positions remain unfilled in the Hoosier state, According to the Indiana Department of Education,

It’s a problem Tony Kinnett of Chalkboard Review has been warning about for months. He says the shortage is linked to a behavioral crisis among students at several high-profile public schools in the state.

“At George Washington High School [administrators] have to lock the bathroom doors to prevent the kids from going in there and killing each other,” Kinnett told Kendall & Casey Wednesday. “Teachers at Warren are leaving in droves because the fist fights are left completely untouched by the district office. They’ll bring them into the office, tell them to stop fighting, and then send them back into the classroom next to the kids they just beat up. This is happening at schools all across the larger city districts.”

Kinnett is preparing to release a 600 teacher survey report on educators who left the classroom in the last year. He says the overwhelming majority of respondents left their positions due to safety concerns and a lack of support from school administrators.

Kinnett says despite claims to the contrary, lack of pay is not the primary reason that teachers are quitting their jobs.

“Funding and teacher pay is secondary. It’s the adjective to the reason,” Kinnett explained. “It’s not getting paid enough to deal with students beating the crap out of each other every day and wrecking my classroom.”

Kinnett notes that with few exceptions, Indiana schools in rural districts are not facing teacher shortages because they’re not plagued with student behavioral challenges.

“The only massive holes to fill are these large city schools with a behavioral crisis,” Kinnett said.

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