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Dallas Teacher Groups Warn Against Planned Sickout

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Steve Pickett
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The ten thousand teachers who educate the students of the Dallas School District have been encouraged to skip school Wednesday by an anonymous fellow teacher.  But the leadership of Dallas ISD’s largest teacher groups are warning teachers about the repercussions of such a move.

“District employees may not strike or engage in an organized work stoppage against the District”, teacher association President Rena Honea repeated from district policy Tuesday.  “You could be terminated for violating the policy.”

Teachers have been asked to join the sick out as a message to the school board over dissatisfaction of an extended work day policy passage.  Dallas teacher will be required to work eight and a half hours, including lunch, starting next fall.  Currently, teachers are only required to work seven hours and 45 minutes per day.

A five-year veteran of classroom instruction with DISD created a web blog and Facebook page, urging fellow teachers to join a sick out in frustration over the extended work rules.  “We want the board to value the contribution we make”, the teacher known as ‘Mr. Jones’ said.

Honea, the head of Alliance AFT, said the sick out could mean trouble for teachers.  “We do not condone, nor do we condemn it, because that has to be an individual preference,” Honea said while warning that teachers must understand the rules for joining an organized sickout.

“We’re here to support our members, but we are not going to advise them to break the law,” said NEA Dallas President Angela Davis.

Officials with Dallas ISD have not commented on the sick out campaign.  On average, 500 teachers don’t report to work daily for DISD.

Davis said her teacher association is supportive of teacher concerns, but students should also be taken into account when discussing a sick out.  “It could send a message that we’re not here for the students, and that’s another reason why we say don’t do it.”

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