Classes canceled May 1 for teacher protest


The state capitol will be crowded with educators at a protest slated for May 1. A similar protest was held last year on May 16.

Students returning from spring break will be met with a shortened week this year. Guilford County has cancelled school on Wednesday May 1, joining many other districts in enabling teachers to attend a protest of the lack of funding for education in Raleigh.

The protest is similar, and acts as a follow up to the one that took last year on May 16. School was cancelled for students last year as well.

“More than one thousand teachers had requested to take leave on May 1,” Guilford County Schools posted on their website in regard to the decision to cancel school. “The board chose to make a decision in order to allow parents enough time to make arrangements for childcare.”

Of the many concerns being highlighted at the protest are the lack of retirement benefits to teachers and how attractive that fact makes the profession. The lack of benefits is English teacher Lora Medley’s biggest concern.

“I don’t understand how they expect anyone to want to come into this (teaching) and use it as a career knowing they aren’t going to get anything when they retire,” Medley said. “The public I think doesn’t understand that, and I’m hoping this will help draw attention to that.”

A common target for criticism from opponents of the protest is the scheduling on a school day. Teachers, however, see cancelling school as part of the demonstration.

“We want to show the impact of teachers. If we do it on the weekend or on spring break when we don’t have (students) it doesn’t show as much of an impact,” Medley said.

If the result of the upcoming protest does not lead to as much change as teachers are hoping for, cancelled school days in early May could become a yearly event for students. Medley suggested that until there is substantial recognition of the issues at hand by the legislature, these protests will continue.

Hopefully doing it again this year will let them see, ‘Look: we’ll keep doing this each year until you hear us,’” Medley said.