Teachers in Detroit held a news conference outside Holmes Elementary to call attention to dangerous facility conditions at many campuses in the city.

Many Detroit schools remain closed as teachers protest poor facility conditions

Jan. 12, 2016
Teachers stage protest to call attention to "toxic" building conditions at many schools


A day after more than half of Detroit Public Schools were closed because of a teacher sickout, another wave of schools canceled classes for the day.

The Detroit News reports that district officials said Tuesday that 24 schools were closed, more than 20 percent of the district.

Ivy Bailey, interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), issued a statement Tuesday about the situation:

"As frustrations by educators, parents and the community continue to mount over deep concerns about Detroit Public Schools' deplorable health, safety and learning conditions, we need real answers from Emergency Manager Darnell Earley and Gov. Rick Snyder. The community is crying out for help over what is clearly a crisis in our schools. The DFT has called for public hearings to fully reveal all of the problems in every school and for Earley to announce how he intends to mitigate the issues. Our students and their families deserve real answers."

MONDAY: Several dozen public schools in Detroit were closed Monday as many teachers staged a "sickout" to protest poor facility conditions on numerous campuses.

On its Facebook page Monday morning, the district listed 64 school sites that were closed because of excessive teacher absences.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers held a news conference Monday morning outside A.L. Holmes Elementary School, and said the toxic conditions at that and other facilities were a “travesty” that is being ignored and causing understandable angst among educators, parents and the community.

The Holmes school has mice running around, wet and peeling ceilings, and broken and cracked entry steps that have been mended with wood, the teachers union contended.

“The deplorable conditions in our schools have created a serious environmental and educational crisis that is being ignored," says said Interim union president Ivy Bailey. "We refuse to stand by while teachers, school support staff and students are exposed to conditions that one might expect in a Third World country, not the United States of America. The children of Detroit, Flint or any other community should not be exposed to atrocious, environmental hazards.”

WXYZ-TV reports that the schools' state-appointed emergency manager, Darnell Earley, issued a statement Monday characterizing the sickout as counterproductive.

“It’s clear that teachers are feeling an overwhelming sense of frustration over the challenges that they and all DPS employees face as they do their jobs each day,” says Earley. “We understand and share their frustration. However, given the reality of the District’s financial distress, it is becoming clearer every day that the only way that we are going to be able to address these serious issues in any way is through an investment in DPS by the Michigan Legislature. Unfortunately, obtaining that support becomes more challenging with each closure of a school due to a teacher sickout.”

The district sent a recorded message late Sunday afternoon to parents and guardians of students warning that several campuses might have to close on Monday because of the teachers' actions.

"The district may need to close a high number of its school buildings on Monday due to the ongoing teacher sick-outs being organized by a minority of DPS' teachers," the call stated.

Video from WXYZ-TV:

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