Two-thirds of Hillsboro, Cane Ridge teachers say schools unsafe

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 10:05pm

Nearly two-thirds of polled teachers at two Metro high schools don’t believe their school environments are safe, according to a recently conducted survey by the Tennessee Department of Education.

More than 57,000 educators statewide took park in the TELL Tennessee survey, billed as the first statewide opportunity for teachers and faculty to provide input on a host of educational issues. The state released 2011 results earlier this month.

Teachers were asked to rate how strongly they agree or disagree on a series of matters including the statement, “The faculty work in a school environment that is safe,” which fell under the poll category “Managing Student Conduct.”

On this question, only 35.6 percent of Hillsboro High School teachers and 37.7 percent of Cane Ridge High School teachers responded that they agree the faculty works in a safe school environment, putting both schools in unique and alarming territory when looking at other results.

Among all Davidson County teachers, 89.5 percent of teachers agreed that they work in a safe school environment. The Metro high schools with the most positive responses were Hume-Fogg Magnet High School, where 100 percent of teachers said the environment is safe, and at Hillwood High School, where 98.8 percent did.

Across the state, 94.3 percent of teachers say they work in a safe environment.

The City Paper could not reach Hillsboro principal Terry Shrader or Cane Ridge principal Michel Sanchez-Wall for comment.

Metro schools spokeswoman Olivia Brown said she did not know the root causes behind Hillsboro and Cane Ridge’s percentages, stressing that school administrators are conducting a detailed review of the survey’s results and looking for opportunities for improvement.  

“They will consider such questions as what factors may have influenced the results, what percentage responded, etc.,” Brown said in an email. “ Both of these schools are considered to be safe.”

Results at Hillsboro could stem partially from last fall when three students died outside the school during a brief time frame, leading in November to false rumors of a lockdown and a gun at the school. The incident, well documented by media, frazzled some in the Hillsboro community.

Cane Ridge, which opened only a few years ago, lacks a singular incident.

Sixty percent of all teachers at Hillsboro took part in the poll, with 52 percent of Cane Ridge teachers responding to the poll.

TELL Tennessee survey results are viewable at

The percentage of teachers who said their environment is safe at each Metro high school breaks down as follows:

Antioch High School — 85.9 percent

Cane Ridge High School — 37.7 percent

East Literature Magnet High School — 98.6 percent

Glencliff High School — 96.9 percent

Hillsboro High School — 35.6 percent

Hillwood High School — 98.8 percent

Hume-Fogg Magnet High School — 100 percent

Hunters Lane High School — 81.5 percent

Maplewood High School — 58.9 percent

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School — 96.6 percent

McGavock High School — 94 percent

Overton High School — 90.8 percent

Pearl-Cohn High School — 94.3 percent

Stratford High School — 70.6 percent

Whites Creek High School — 73.7 percent


37 Comments on this post:

By: richgoose on 5/18/11 at 5:35

I have been telling the people who send their kids to Hillsboro because they could not afford private school education or their kids were thrown out of private school that Hillsboro was the most over rated public high school in the county.

By: 4gold on 5/18/11 at 6:54

As a 71' Hillsboro grad and still live in the area this is upsetting. I dont know where they are getting these kids that teachers feel are so dangerous but I dont want them in my neighborhood. Would like to see Hillsoboro return to being a neighborhood school and a good one. Dump this comprehensive crap.

By: BigPapa on 5/18/11 at 6:54

Hillsboro and Hillwood only suffer because of the court ordered busing of the underclass into these neighborhoods. The old liberal idea that thugs will not be thugs because they are sitting next to someone that lives in a million dollar house.

By: global_citizen on 5/18/11 at 7:11

I'm not terribly surprised about Cane Ridge, but Hillsboro is a surprise.

However, seeing that Maplewood, McGavock, and Glencliff scored higher tells me that these results reflect a reaction to a changing environment at Hillsboro more than an actual dangerous environment.

Hillsboro teachers have typically enjoyed working in a clean, safe, orderly environment with well disciplined and high achieving students. This has changed in the last four years, so there is a now a heightened sense of danger that teachers there have not felt before. And therefore, they disproportionately report feeling unsafe - compared to how they used to feel.

Maplewood, McGavock, and Glencliff on the other hand, have always been underperforming and somewhat disorderly. And the teachers there are used to it. They are nonchalant about it and don't perceive it as a danger to themselves.

Still, it's sad to see that any of our schools are in the pitiful condition that they are.

By: dogmrb on 5/18/11 at 7:55

Hillwood had 100% of the teachers respond with a 98.8 safe environment response. If you recall, Hillwood also had their zoning changed. Hillsboro had a 60% of their teachers respond and has had open zoning for several years plus repeated change of Principals and a recent huge controversy. What would the survey results be if all the teachers had responded? Who knows? All these factors contribute to subjective perceptions of one's environment.

By: Funditto on 5/18/11 at 8:06

Every day our son comes home and tells us about a fight or worse. He has had calculators, ipods and other stuff taken. He has no friends. As you all know, he is disabled and we are terrified that he'll get caught in the middle of a fight or God forbid, cross fire. I agree with Big Papa, that the thugs need to go. I hate this school but we have no other options.

By: Whoknows on 5/18/11 at 8:16

Cane Ridge had a student launch a fireworks display in the middle of the school. Students were evacuated to the football field and several major fights broke out. I probably wouldn't feel safe there either.

By: Trumpetman on 5/18/11 at 8:27

I am not liking the fact that these reports are not reflecting 100% of teachers opinons at these schools. With only 60% of teachers at Hillsboro reporting and even less, 52% at Cane Ridge. How can a report be generated without everyones participation. Who's to say that the teachers surveyed might be 1st year teachers who are part of the new teaching programs that came from Coporate America and had no clue of what they were getting into. Probally teachers who were used to their cute little cubicals and now in a classroom , heard a curse word and saw a fight or tow and now they are so affraid for their lives...Those teachers probally also had a misconception of the two schools, especially Hillsboro being in Green Hills. Once they got in and saw that it wasn't "Ritzy" Green Hils white kids at the school they probally automatically felt they were let down and put their guards up due the fact that it wasn't what they though it was going to be. I have substituted in the majority of Metro Schools and neither Cane Ridge or Hillsboro are any more unsafe than any other Metro High School, probally actually safer than many others reported.

By: vested on 5/18/11 at 8:27

You know that it never ceases to amaze me when people comment about situations that they have no knowledge about. The majority of the teachers at Hillsboro are great!!! Some of them are really a joke, those are the teachers that say nothing when they see students out of order. These teachers are the same teachers that didn't support the last Principal because he was not what they wanted. And they don't support the new Principal. Teachers have a responsibility to report students that are NOT doing the right thing, whether they are IB, AP, Honors, Atheletes, or a Standard student. If they did report that "John left my class or I saw him and he's not here" then the SRO could do his part by searching for John. How does that happen when instead of calling the office, you email another teacher to complain. Safety starts with the adults in the building!!!
Before we decide that the students are out of control, which some are, let's decide if we have the right people in place enforcing the rules. Adults that are in the position to teach, ask yourself "Have I done all that I can do?"

By: localboy on 5/18/11 at 8:32

I admit to not having read the survey questions; did the state ask what the teachers thought of their options to discipline students?

By: Trumpetman on 5/18/11 at 8:37

To Whoknows- The Cane Ridge fireworks incident was caused by one student, and they fights that occured once the students were evacuated where due to 3+hours outside with teachers and students having no clue as to what was occuring (confussion) and nothing to do. Fights occur in High Schools all the time, and they are amongst students. Lets not forget the student who helt a gun to a teachers head at Overton High a few years ago, or what about just recently the Principal of Maplewood was in a fight with a student, or what about during the fall semester a teacher went went crazy at McGavock High Schools. Hunters Lane has had numerous of gang fights, all the schools. So I really have a problem with his this report was conducted, so many questions of what teachers they surveyed. Tell these teachers to go teach in some of the schools in Memphis, then lets see how dangerous these two schools are.

By: Trumpetman on 5/18/11 at 8:47

To vested:
That is the best response I have seen on this website, Thanks You! You are correct, it starts with the adult., as I stated in an earlier comment, have of these teachers in Metro have no form of discipline and class room conduct themselves. They halfway teach the students, have no expectations for the students, don't require anything from them, their class rooms are always bare and not welcoming at all, no communication with parents and plain ole just don't handle business, but they constinatly complain to the teacher next door and never even try to reach out to the kids to make a difference. As I stated before, I have substituted in every Metro High School and currently teach, so I know exactally what goes on in these school and what the Adults are doing or not doing in order to make these schools sucessful. I bet you anything that the teacher who feel safe are those teachers who actually care for the students, and their jobs and provide a welcoming environment for their students and actually teach. I promise you, if that is done, even the thugs will respect you. But the problem is there are so many ineffective teachers so of coarse they think it is so unsafe because they don't know what they are doing. Teaching is not an easy profession as many think it is, you have a lot more to deal with than teaching a little lesson.

By: edsupp on 5/18/11 at 9:15

To Trumpetman: Just because you have been a substitute in every MNPS high school does not mean that you truly know everything that is going on. It also does not mean that you have seen everything that has gone on. You just saw what you saw or even think you saw on that day in your area of the school. I have a really hard time believing that you are a current teacher. Your grammar and spelling are horrific. Your statements about teachers are awful and, in my opinion, unfounded. To say that half of the teachers have no form of classroom conduct is crazy. In my opinion, ninety percent of all teachers are good people and, at the least, are average teachers. The same could be said for the students. You are always going to have bad teachers and bad students. The only thing that you are correct about is that teaching is not an easy profession. It is a very difficult job when done effectively and properly.

By: GStaggs on 5/18/11 at 9:38

Working Mom
I actually moved so that my child could attend a lower grade school that ultimately feeds into Hillsboro. Too bad I'll have to move again before 9th grade. It's common knowledge that unruly students have taken over Hillsboro and the good students are just as afraid as the teachers. IB or no, magnet or no; it's a loss at this point. I commend you for making it public. Maybe now someone will actually do something about it. .

By: mel10711 on 5/18/11 at 10:27

So may teens that live out here in the Antioch / Cane Ridge area reek havoc on the homes / people's pets / mailboxes / etc. I can't imagine when they are at school they act any different. I commend teachers in today's society, they are brave. They have no authority and no means of discipline anymore like we had or our parents had. You have to teach a child respect and to honor parents / adults, they aren't born knowing it. That starts at home. If a child is raised to know right from wrong, they will typically carry that with them no matter where they are. Society has changed that .. so no one can complain when teens don't grow up acting right. I hate when people blame others for THEIR CHILDREN'S ACTIONS in a public place. Maybe you should look at the home life first and start there. Parents want to blame the school is terrible .. well .. the largest % of a school are the kids! I doubt ALL the teachers and staff and principle are terrible in these schools. Funny .. we didn't have police patrol at school when we were kids .. yes there will always be bullies, fights, and teen drama, but the guns in schools and other stupid dangerous things kids do today, they should know better, by being taught that by their parents. Parents are divorcing, working, or whatever so the home life is different. That's a proven fact not opinion. Its sad but we did this to ourselves. Unfortunately the parents that ARE doing a great job raising their kids get punished by the ones that aren't.

By: edsupp on 5/18/11 at 10:28

To Trumpetman: In one post you stated that the fights at CR were caused by 3+ hours outside with nothing to do. So are you saying that if you take the students from MBA, FR, FRA, BA, Hume Fogg, MLK, USN, etc. outside for 3+ hours without specific directions, then a fight would occur? Fights broke out because students made poor decisions in character. Also, you stated to take the teachers from these schools to Memphis and see if they feel safe. Feeling safe is a perception. The truth is that most schools are safe. Schools may have incidents where that feeling of safety becomes blurred.
I do not know about the schools in Memphis. However, even if the school in Memphis are percieved as being unsafe, it still does not mean that some people may percieve CR and Hillsboro as being unsafe.
Finally, you can go to and find out all of the results. The survey was handled pretty well as far as I can tell. All teachers were given a chance to complete the survey. Some did as they were asked. Some did not do as they were asked.

By: sickofstupidity on 5/18/11 at 11:02

The majority of Hillsboro's students come from the EdgeHill projects and are low life 5th generation welfare recipients. Metro wants to build a police precinct there. Metro should sell the Hillsboro land and put the HS there, where the scums lives. Anybody who has ever set foot inside Hillsboro or watched the hordes of thugs load and unload off the busses there, know what a cess pool it is.

By: Trumpetman on 5/18/11 at 11:07

To edsupp:
What experience do you have working daily in Metro Schools? I dont care if I were a teacher, subsittute teacher, cafeteria worker or janitor or even they guy who comes to refill the vending machines, it is not hard know what goes on in the schools. did not say half of the teachers have poor classroom management, I said that it is probally half of the surveyed, who think it is so dangerous, that have poor classroom management skills and never wanted (or should be) to be in the classroom anyways. Yes, it is the Adults (every adult in the schools) responsibility to provide a safe environment and like what vested said about teachers not taking responsibility of their classrooms with the small discipline problems, those problems will esculate in to larger problems. And for your information I did look at the entire survey, the survery had very little reguarding how safe the teachers feel and now where did it allow for teachers to elaborate on why they don't feel safe for those who don't. It's probally the teachers who got the letters saying they will no longer be needed in the fall who feel so unsafe...
Im not saying that these two schools are perfect by any means, but this article nor survey trully portray how Metro Schools are.

By: edsupp on 5/18/11 at 11:14

trumpetman: I am a product of MNPS. I have supported public schools for as long as I can remember. I agree that the article does not trully portray how MNPS truly are.

By: tomw on 5/18/11 at 11:23

the headline is totally inaccurate. the real numbers are... 52% of Cane Ridge teachers responded and of that number 37.7%,said they felt safe. 62.3% OF THE RESPONDERS said that they felt unsafe. What about the other 48% of the faculty that did not respond? If we extrapolate to 100%, approximately 30 % of the responding faculty feels unsafe. that is a big difference from 2/3. Please stop trying to demonize South Nashville.

By: Trumpetman on 5/18/11 at 11:25

edsupp: I am product of MNPS as well. Metro as a whole has changed and not for the the good of the students. So many programs that make the schools what they are are being cut that it is ridiculous, so that is just a start of the problems in all of the schools.

By: Nitzche on 5/18/11 at 11:40

Wow,MNPS gettin some grief! for those of us that are products of MNPS, welcome to the party!

By: David_S on 5/18/11 at 12:09

73.7 percent of White's Creek high school faculty members feel safe, even though 3 guns have been found inside that school this year alone? I think some teachers might be a tad delusional.

By: howelln on 5/18/11 at 1:30

I think the problem at Hillsboro is that the teachers do not feel like the principal is backing them up or setting a tone for discipline. I think he is the weak link.

By: sickofstupidity on 5/18/11 at 1:38 are correct..the principal is scared of his own shadow..never leaves the office. But, there is no denying the kids going to Hillsboro these days are some of the worst Metro has to deal with.

By: conniem on 5/18/11 at 9:05

People, you all have great opinions, except for the comments about the Edgehill community. Do you all honestly think that ALL of the families and kids in Edgehill are terrible people? Do you honestly believe that Edgehill parents don;t love their children? Not every person in Edgehill wants to live in Edgehill, but some have lost jobs and have no choice. Some husbands/wives have died or just left home, leaving the other parent on their own. We don't know their story, so until you walk that mile.Remember the study, that if you tell them that they are bad, then bad is what you get? I am not defending bad behavior, I am just saying please have some compassion, those kids maybe trying to get some help, they are coming to school. Now tell me, is it their fault that some teachers think like you?
Please keep in mind that there are kids at Hillsboro that are NOT Edgehill kids that get into trouble and get put out of school. We can't as a society of educated people give up on the kids of our future. We were young once,and our parents and society didn't understand us, but they never stopped trying to teach us.
Let's just DO SOMETHING other than complain. If all we have is bitter and negative comments then we are as bad as the people that we are speaking about.
And by the way, as a Hillsboro parent that doesn't live in Edgehill, we have a good school, mostly good teachers, and a great principal.

By: govskeptic on 5/19/11 at 4:45

If the very low number of teachers responding to the survey from Cane Ridge and
Hillsboro as mentioned by a previous posting is correct., that is troubling as well!
Are the large number not responding too busy, or are they just too uninspired
to bother with such paperwork other than the paycheck?

By: richgoose on 5/19/11 at 6:42

We know that TRUMPETMAN is a substitute teacher. We probably know that he does not teach English Composition. We suspicion that jobs are scarce for him.

By: budlight on 5/19/11 at 6:52

localboy on 5/18/11 at 9:32
I admit to not having read the survey questions; did the state ask what the teachers thought of their options to discipline students?

localboy, there is no discipline and the students know that. They are defiant and rude. One hit my friend in the head by throwing a basketball very hard at her head. He was not disciplined. She still suffers from the injury. I think he should have been arrested for aggravated assault. Principal did nothing. Other adults standing around did nothing. This is the society we have morphed into.

By: sickofstupidity on 5/19/11 at 6:54

Welfare is a choice for the majority of vermin in Edgehill. I don't care about them...they are like lepors and a wall needs to be built around them so as not to infect the rest of society.

By: Nitzche on 5/19/11 at 10:54

the natives are restless!!!

By: slzy on 5/19/11 at 10:55

Don't all the schools have 2 or 3 Metro Police Officers on duty?

Imagine what the figures might look like without the police "back up".

By: Funditto on 5/19/11 at 12:33

Some of the thugs at HHS live in Belle Meade. One in particular that I know is from Bellevue and was zoned for Hillwood but got to HHS in open enrollment. My youngest was threatened with scissors from a kid that lives in Devon Farms. It's not just Edgehill kids these days, it spoiled rotten rich kids whose parents refuse to raise them right.

By: richgoose on 5/19/11 at 3:53

I was told of this boy from Devon Farms. He is one tough kid. The Edgehill boys and othe underclass boys are somewhat amazed at this kid. I understand that his favorite defense is to run from the thugs and then step out and sucker punch a lone wolf. Is this the boy you are talking about?

By: Nitzche on 5/20/11 at 7:50

turn these schools over to the Dept. of Corrections and let them handle it.

By: slzy on 5/20/11 at 12:38

yeah,ol' dylan and eric lived in south park,not edge hill.

By: willtw on 5/22/11 at 8:16

Sounds like Hillsboro needs another John Koen.....A student there in pre-busing days, and when HHS was a county school, yes there were skirmishes but the teachers ran that school and the student population was nearly the same as in 2011. In the race for equality, the former receptor for Parmer, Woodmont and several other elementary schools graduated 100% of it's seniors, 92-95% attended and graduated college and it was extremely rare police had to be called. Socio economics play a huge role in this but that role has to be contained by the teaching staff and not necessarily by law enforcement....