No decision yet on May 1 teacher rally for Chatham County Schools

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 4/12/19

BEAR CREEK — As school districts around them are already canceling classes for May 1 in anticipation of a teacher rally in Raleigh, the Chatham County Board of Education decided Monday night to …

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No decision yet on May 1 teacher rally for Chatham County Schools

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Posted

BEAR CREEK — As school districts around them are already canceling classes for May 1 in anticipation of a teacher rally in Raleigh, the Chatham County Board of Education decided Monday night to hold off on making a call.

The school board briefly discussed the possibility of closing school on the same day as the North Carolina Association of Educators’ scheduled “Day of Action” — a repeat of last year’s “Rally for Respect,” when thousands of teachers marched in downtown Raleigh to the N.C. General Assembly. But without a large number of teachers asking for the day off as now, no decision was made.

“At this particular point, we don’t have a number of folks who have requested,” said Superintendent Derrick Jordan. “We’re not concerned about not being able to cover the vacancies. What is concerning, however, is if there’s a bubbling that happens at the end, it puts the school district in an awkward place.”

So the decision will be made closer to the date of the rally, potentially through an emergency meeting of the school board.

The discussion came as surrounding school districts are already making the call to cancel classes. Durham Public Schools and Orange County Schools made the decision Monday to close schools for students. According to an email sent to the media as reported by WRAL, 568 teachers in Durham, representing around a quarter of the district’s faculty, have put in for personal days on May 1. Both districts will have teacher workdays.

Those districts joined Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Lexington City Schools as closed to students.

Chatham County Schools were also closed to students last year, but that decision was not made until closer to the rally date of May 16. Like other districts, the decision to close was made because of the insufficiency of available substitute teachers.

At least one board member expressed a desire to cancel school if enough teachers took personal days.

“The reason we went that direction last year was we felt we couldn’t get enough subs,” said member David Hamm. “The idea of marching kids into the multi-purpose room for the day to watch movies, I think, is a firestorm in itself.”

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