Teachers hold 'walk in' protests at schools
RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina public school educators who are unhappy with recent spending cutbacks and another year without pay raises are protesting those challenges at work Monday.
Many teachers took part in a "walk in" and wore red to school while entering together through the front door on the way to morning classes as a sign of unity.
At Lacy Elementary in Raleigh, at least 60 teachers and supporters gathered outside the building first thing Monday.
"Our goal is to make sure that in the state of North Carolina, we keep quality teachers and we're not sure we can do that when our pay scale ranks 48th in the country," said teacher Suzette Acree.
The teachers drew the support of some parents who also came out Monday.
"We support teachers and we applaud teachers for taking the initiative and teaching our kids to stand up for what's right," said parent Hope Carmichael.
The North Carolina Association of Educators promoted the event as an alternative to a "walk-out" pushed by some teachers in recent months. Public employee strikes are against state law.
Some Republican legislators say NCAE is still actively promoting a strike. The group's top leader says that's not true.
However, the top Republican in the state senate released a strongly worded statement Monday morning that was critical of the teacher's union.
"These extreme tactics are the union's latest efforts to boost its declining membership and use teachers' dues to bankroll six figure salaries for its employees...spearheading a political protest during instructional time at public schools across the state Monday, encouraging crowds of protestors to enter schools as soon as the morning bell rings," said North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger.
Monday's protests took many different forms with walk-ins and walk-outs.
Teachers in Apex put in a full work day, but they protested with a walk and rally at West Lake Middle School Monday evening.
Yet, more than 100 teachers from across the Triangle protested by not showing up to work Monday. Instead they rallied against state budget cuts and another year without pay raises.
Ten teachers at the rally were from Durham's W.G. Pearson Elementary School. They said 21 of the school's 24 teachers did not show up for work Monday morning.
"I don't like being away from my children, but I feel like everybody is at a point right now where we know if something is not done it's just gonna keep getting worse," said teacher Shanna Cannon.
"It's not something I wanna do is miss school but we all felt this is something that is very important," added teacher Tera Franke.
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