Detroit teachers protest facilities, school supplies, gov's plan

What are Detroit teachers protesting with their sickout? It's much more than issues with the Governor's plan.

- More than 60 schools across the Detroit Public School system were shut down on Monday due to a teacher sick out. They're not just protesting Governor Rick Snyder's plan to fix the districts massive amount of debt, they're also frustrated with outdated facilities and a shortage of school supplies.

Of the 97 Detroit public schools. 64 were closed on Monday because of teachers calling in sick. They said they did so to make a point on behalf of their students. Some teachers, like Kimberly Jackson, took their protests to the Fisher Building and demanded to have their concerns heard by DPS leaders.

"The longer that we work in these conditions things get worse and worse. We have stood by. Do you know how long we've been dealing with these conditions? Because we're in it for the children. Because where I want the children to be in the classroom learning. We haven't taken off. We've been there for them," Jackson said.

"My kids need to know that you always need to stand up for what's right and what you believe in no matter what others say and I believe my kids deserve better than what they have," teacher Zachary Sobet said.

DPS Emergency manager Darnell Earley released this statement on Monday:

"This sick out resulted in more than 31,000 students missing a day of instruction, and potentially placing more than a million dollars in per pupil funding in jeopardy...It is counter intuitive to everyone's efforts to move this District forward when we send the message to the rest of the state and the nation that was sent today."

At the same time of the sick out, the Detroit Federation of Teachers is releasing new images organizers say were taken inside the schools showing mold, leaky ceilings, and other signs of possible environmental hazards.

"We're talking about conditions comparable to a third world country," Ivy Bailey, Interim Pres. Detroit Federation of Teachers said. "There are rats, rodents, dripping water, mold, holes, you name it, I believe we have it and it's time to expose this."

Mayor Mike Duggan is also demanding change to the 6-year-old emergency management system. He released this statement to FOX 2:

"The school district has lost nearly half of its student enrollment, has suffered declines in math and reading scores to the lowest level in the country, and has run up new deficits in excess of $700 million. Thirty percent to 40% of all state funding for Detroit schools is now going to pay debt instead of going to teaching our children. This is an issue of critical importance to the future of Detroit's children - students have no chance of learning when their education funding is diverted from the class."

The Mayor is scheduling visits to the schools Tuesday to evaluate the conditions.

As of 5:00 p.m. Monday, there are no plans of a teacher sickout for Tuesday but teachers say they're ready to continue getting whatever attention they can to the schools back on track for the students.


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