The Fort Mill Schools spokesman says the district is not taking special actions ahead of Wednesday’s teacher protests in Columbia.
“We are planning to operate on our normal school schedule,” said Joe Burke, Fort Mill School District Chief Communications Officer.
More than 4,000 educators and their supporters have planned to rally at the Statehouse in their efforts for education reform. The event is organized by the network of teacher activists known as SC for Ed. It could be one of the largest teacher protests in the state’s history.
Fort Mill teacher Saani Perry is one of the leaders of the nonprofit S.C. for Ed organization that is sponsoring the movement. He told other media that dozens of teachers in York County plan to make the trip to Columbia.
Perry has argued for better pay, smaller class sizes, removing other duties as assigned from contracts and less testing. He also demands a pledge from the state legislature that they’ll say no to for-profit charter schools and educational savings accounts.
On his Facebook page, Perry wrote about threats against teachers who participate in the protest. He said this: “To all educators who have been threatened to be reprimanded for joining on May 1, let me first be the one to apologize to you. Your hard work and dedication deserves to be appreciated and supported in a better fashion. However, let this be your call to action as to WHY its so vital that you join us.
“I am EXHAUSTED and much like all of you, I give my ALL to this profession. I’ve wanted to be in education since I was SEVEN years old. The fact that this broken system has me questioning whether I’m a bad person for advocating on behalf of my students and colleagues is outrageous. However, I am 100% okay with being the bad guy right now. If there is one thing I know, its that throughout history, the major game changers in our society have been viewed as ‘the bad guy.’ We may be ‘bad’ now, but this too shall pass. We WILL be remembered for being on the right side of history in the near future.”
A 2019 education overhaul bill designed to improve working conditions for teachers stalled last week in the state Senate.
On Monday, state Superintendent Molly Spearman released a statement saying she supports teachers using their voice to advocate for change. But she emphasized that she couldn’t support teachers “walking out on their obligations” to students and families.