PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — “Teachers across the district are exhausted, demoralized, they are in survival mode.”

That’s what Lisa Griffith, the president of the Reynolds Teachers Union, said Wednesday night at a school board meeting. She implored district leaders to help what she said are seriously overwhelmed teachers and staff.

“We need help,” she said. “Even our calmest schools are stressed.”

Griffith said she got a phone call today from an elementary school. The caller compared “it to trying to run an emergency room by yourself where you’re responsible for the safety and the lives of 20 to 30 patients and it’s maybe you and one other nurse. And that’s a daily feeling for our staff.”

At the top of the list is Reynolds Middle School, where excessive fighting among students has gotten so out of hand the superintendent made the decision to move classes for middle schoolers online for the next 2 weeks.

Wednesday afternoon, as KOIN 6 News was at the school, fights broke out. District officials said closing the campus for the next few weeks will allow time to reassess.

Reynolds Middle School in Fairview, November 17, 2021 (KOIN)

“We need some kind of virtual option for students who can’t maintain in our schools and we need some kind of support for our staff and students within the schools,” Griffith told the school board.

Griffith, who also teaches 7th- and 8th-grade, admitted she’s not entirely sure what specifically can be done. But she re-iterated that the staff and students needs some kind of support.

“I need the board and the district to hear this, that that doesn’t fix everything,” she said. “Please, I am begging you to keep working on this. Don’t think for a second that we’re done with this.”