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.
Eighty eight of the roughly 100 schools in the system closed, accounting for about a 90% closure rate, according to CNN.
Teachers launched the so-called sickout to call attention to the unsafe school conditions they say are widespread across the district.
They are looking for city and state government officials to step and take action to improve school conditions.
“Detroit’s public schools are in a state of crisis,” the Detroit teachers’ union wrote on its website. “Children are struggling in schools with hazardous environmental and safety issues. Educators have made significant sacrifices for the good of students, including taking pay cuts and reductions in health benefits.”
Some of those hazards were on display when Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan took a tour of Detroit schools in mid-January.
Duggan said he saw a dead mouse, freezing classrooms where students were wearing coats, and severely damaged rooms, according to the Associated Press. Duggan’s school tour was precipitated by an earlier teacher sickout that closed 64 schools.
“Our children need our teachers in the classroom,” Duggan said in January, according to the AP. “But there’s no question about the legitimacy of the issues that they’re raising.”
Teacher organisations began tweeting some of the conditions their teachers encountered in Detroit schools.
Wednesday’s sickout coincides with a visit from President Barack Obama to the North American International Auto Show (which is held in Detroit) to celebrate the American automotive industry’s resurgence.
Protesters are planning on handing our fliers to car show attendees that highlight the state of decay in Detroit’s public schools.
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