GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – More schools in Jefferson County shut down Monday after the majority of teachers at two high schools called in sick. Now the district’s superintendent says some staff members should be prepared to suffer the consequences if the “sick outs” continue.
The district plans to discipline teachers saying the students are suffering. The school district says if the teachers can’t prove they were actually sick, they’ll lose their pay.
Teachers began walking off the job a week ago and right now there are no signs that their protests are going to stop. Some students were confused to find their schools shut down after teachers decided overnight not to show up.
Golden High School teacher Tammie Peters says tensions have been growing in Jefferson County since the school board became more conservative a year ago. It’s boiled over with a proposal that Peters says would have whitewashed civil disobedience from the history books.
“It disrespects the teachers who teach advance placement U.S. history that somehow we’re trying to indoctrinate students into some way of thinking when what we’re trying to do is get them to do is critically think,” Peters said.
Peter’s spent Monday at home grading papers. She says the resentment goes beyond changes to textbooks, saying the board has created a culture of disrespect for its teachers.
On Monday Superintendent Dan McMinimee said he’s seen enough classrooms shut down.
“We’re going to do everything that we can to work with teachers, but the place that we draw the line is when they start taking things away from kids,” McMinimee said.
Teachers and the school board are miles apart and the discontent shows no signs of stopping. School Board President Ken Witt made no promises to address teachers’ concerns, but promised teachers would lose money.
“We guarantee that if teachers are not in their classrooms and they’re not legitimately sick, and they don’t have evidence of being sick, that they will be docked their pay,” Witt said.
“If I lose a day’s pay today, it’s an investment that I’m making in my own children’s future, as well as the future of all my students, and it’s a price we’re willing to take,” Peters said.
The school board will meet on Thursday and there’s rising pressure for both sides to resolve their issues. Attendance over the next two weeks will determine how much state funding Jefferson County gets.