Teachers at Lacy Elementary School holding walk-in event during school hours

Posted by T. Keung Hui on October 31, 2013 

Is it appropriate for teachers at Lacy Elementary School in Raleigh to meet during the school day as part of Monday’s teacher walk-in event?

Lacy’s PTA is asking for volunteers to cover the classrooms from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. so that teachers can meet with parents and community members in the school’s multi-purpose room. Classes begin at 8:30 a.m. at Lacy although students can arrive sooner on campus.

The meeting will also be broadcast on televisions in the classrooms.

As noted in today’s article, the event is drawing complaints from GOP lawmakers.

NCAE has been encouraging teachers to hold events before classes start and after they end – not during the school day.

Renee McCoy, a Wake County schools’ spokeswoman, said principals have been told neither to orchestrate nor obstruct the Monday events. It’s worth noting that school board members and Superintendent Jim Merrill have publicly criticized education-related actions taken by state lawmakers.

As for the PTA request, McCoy said it’s not unusual for PTAs to reach out to their members to supervise classrooms for teacher events such as special luncheons and meetings.

Senate Leader Phil Berger, a Rockingham County Republican, and Sen. Neal Hunt, a Raleigh Republican, issued a joint statement Wednesday criticizing NCAE for organizing an event at Lacy requiring volunteers to fill in for teachers. They also called on State Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, to intervene.

Here’s the press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Berger, Hunt Statement on Planned Teacher Strike

Asks what the Attorney General plans to do to protect student safety

Raleigh, N.C. – At least one North Carolina elementary school is soliciting volunteers over the internet to watch students while teachers walk out of their classrooms to participate in a politically-motivated one-hour strike next week.

And the North Carolina affiliate of the national teachers’ union has stated on record they “affirm the desire, and right, of educators to use tactics like a walk-out or strike” – a clear violation of North Carolina law.

Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and Sen. Neal Hunt (R-Wake) issued the following joint statement Wednesday after being contacted by concerned parents:

“Schools have a duty to educate and protect our children, not serve as marching grounds for political protests orchestrated by unions. We are deeply disturbed the NCAE is encouraging teachers to turn their backs on their classrooms and leave their students in the care of strangers who may lack formal training and background checks. Things have reached a new low when a teachers’ union is willing to abandon its core responsibility and jeopardize student safety for its own gain.

“As attorney general and our state’s chief law enforcement officer, Roy Cooper has an obligation to protect our children’s safety, and we look forward to his swift response.”

Background

Below is the text of an email from a Raleigh elementary school’s PTA that was shared with the senators by a concerned parent:

“Good afternoon. On Monday, November 4th, there will be a teacher walk-in at Lacy to demonstrate the importance of our teachers and public education in North Carolina. The PTA is working to provide classroom coverage that morning so that teachers can gather in the multi-purpose room with parents and other community members from 8am to 9am. Note that this will be broadcast on the televisions in the classrooms so that no one in the building will miss it.

“We are in need of one (or two) parent volunteer to cover each of the 3rd – 5th grade classrooms from7:45am – 9am on Monday morning. I am copying the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade room reps so that you are aware of this event, but you are not needed in the classroom since the teacher assistants will cover those grade levels.

“For the 3rd – 5th grade room reps, please use the following SignUp Genius to sign up your volunteers so that we can ensure all rooms are covered on Monday morning.”

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0B4DA5A72FA13-parent

Cooper’s office issued a response in which he took a jab at the senators.

“If the Senate was so concerned about students they wouldn’t have drastically shortchanged our public schools,” Cooper said. “I can understand why teachers are beyond frustrated but I don’t think they should leave the classroom. Meanwhile, our SBI stands ready to consult with schools about any safety concerns they have.”

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