Grassroots teacher sickout continues to grow

Kentucky teachers take Frankfort to demand change

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools, Bullitt, Oldham and Meade County schools closed Thursday as a grassroots teacher sickout continues to grow.

Many teachers converged on the capitol creating a scene that looked similar to demonstrations in 2018 when the GOP dominated legislature pushed through a pension reform bill that was later ruled unconstitutional.

“Last year it was primarily to save our pension,” JCPS teacher Lisa Adams said. “This time there has been bill after bill after bill introduced and we feel like there's been a war declared on public education.”

Angry voices again filled the capitol while people lined up outside to join in. No one waited for the union to tell them what to do.

“We can't wait, public education is too important,” JCPS teacher Robin Alley said. “We value our students way too much to wait.”

“KEA did not call for the sickouts that happened yesterday and today,” KEA President Stephanie Winkler said in a statement. “But we are heartened by the spontaneous activism of individual educators. Clearly, educators learned the lessons from last spring and understand the power of uniting and advocating for their students and for their profession.”

Unexpected school closures affected thousands of students and parents. Teachers defended their decision to go to Frankfort.

“I would say to parents that we’re fighting for their kids,” Oldham County schools teacher Brian Durbin said. “I’m here fighting for every kid who walks into my classroom on a daily basis. I’m fighting for my own two kids at home. We cannot continue as teachers to get kicked in the teeth every time a legislative session comes up.”

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