Almost every public school in Detroit, Michigan was closed on Wednesday after teachers called out sick to protest what they say are deplorable school conditions, CNN reported.
Teachers are claiming emergency management of the district, currently run by Darnell Earley, is a major contributor to the unsafe school conditions they say are widespread across the district.
“Emergency Management is not working,” Ivy Bailey, the president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said, according to CNN. “If the goal was to destroy DPS, emergency management has done an excellent job.”
Michigan Senate Democrats were equally blunt in their finger-pointing at the supposed cause of problems in Detroit Public Schools (DPS). “Crumbling # DPS schools are a direct result of damage that can be done by unelected emergency managers,” they tweeted on Tuesday.
Earley, an unelected emergency manager, was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder last January. Emergency management in the district began in 2009 when Detroit was ruled to be in a financial emergency. His appointment follows a string of consecutive managers for the district, as he is the fourth appointment in six years.
The assertions that Earley is unsuitable in his role leading DPS have grown louder as a result of his appointment as emergency manager of Flint, Michigan from 2013 to 2015.
Under Earley, Flint transitioned its water source, resulting in elevated levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water. It has been deemed a public health disaster.
“Darnell Earley has to go,” Ingrid Jacques, a deputy editor at The Detroit News, wrote. “The emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools is now irrevocably tainted by his time in that same role for the city of Flint,” she continued.
For his part, Earley refutes claims that he is responsible for Flint’s water crisis, stating that he never made the decision to change water sources and only implemented the process once it was already approved.
It’s not yet clear if any of the calls for Earley’s removal have had any impact on the security of this position.
But as 88 of Detroit’s nearly 100 schools closed on Wednesday, there will likely be continued pressure for action of some kind.
Business Insider reached out to the Office of the Emergency Manager and will update this post if we hear back.
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