Thousands take part in ‘Day of Action’ rally

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Thousands take part in 'Day of Action' rally

Teachers marched for the second year for a better future for the students of tomorrow.

Raleigh:

Walking side by side, shouting for change, and marching for a better future for the students of tomorrow.

Thousands of North Carolina educators from across the state, are coming together asking for a better opportunity to help students succeed.

WNCT’s Dominique Moody was there to describe the emotions of the teachers.

Five issues are at the center of the rally.

Including additional staff like school phycologists, social workers and nurses.

Teachers said raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is critical.

Teachers along with the North Carolina Association of Educators said restoring pay for advanced degrees and retiree health benefits can enhance each school district.

Teachers admit diplomacy is needed in order to achieve the requests, like the expansion of Medicaid.

Through all the marching, chanting and signs, teachers said putting the needs of children should be at the forefront.

Our Courtney Allen also was there following the rally.

“It is solidarity, unity, democracy in action,” said Lauren Piner a South Central High School.

“I think there is a lot of passion, a lot of emotion, a lot of strength today,” said Elyse McCrae a South Central High School teacher.

Strength in numbers, as thousands of teachers march for respect in Raleigh.

“I teach social studies, and I teach about these great people standing up for civil justice, civil society, and that is what we are doing here,” said Piner. We are making history.”

South Central High teachers Piner end Mcrae said it’s about more than teacher pay.

“I am here today to advocate for my students and my dad who is a custodian in Onslow County, I want him to get a living wage in the state of North Carolina,” said Mcrae.

“Investments in people,” said Piner. School psychologists, school nurses, social workers.”

They are among more than 300 educators from Pitt County marching for change.

“I think for my students, something I hope they know is that we are taking this work day, and we want to use it for their good,” said Rachel Storms a South Central High School teacher. It’s about improving the school system for them and future generations.” 

Other districts like Onslow, Craven, and Lenoir that didn’t cancel school traveling in smaller numbers.

“We missed so many days of the hurricane, after missing 55 days, we thought to send a few people to represent, but our school is decked out in red today,” said Jay Kapiko a Dixon High School teacher. I literally get chill bumps to see all these teachers and all these people in the community supporting us.”

Teachers hoping that community support translates into support from lawmakers.
 

Pitt County:

WNCT’s Kara Gann met with teachers from Pitt County about the rally.

The Big Lots parking lot in Greenville was one of the spots teachers from Pitt County met around 7 a.m. to ride together to Raleigh in a charter bus. 

Last year from Pitt County alone, 450 teachers made their way to Raleigh. 

They were part of the 30,000 plus teachers and educators from 38 districts who painted the downtown streets red. 

This year around 300 to 350 from Pitt County are expected to go again. 

“It’s really important that we bring awareness to the lack of resources we have in our schools in North Carolina, it’s not just about teacher pay,” said Lauren Piner, president of Pitt County Association of Educators.

Staff told Gann they hope the march will encourage lawmakers to not only increase pay but also work to get psychologists, social workers, and nurses and guidance counselors in the school. 

Piner said she wants every educator who cannot go to the march to advocate from home via social media. 

The superintendent for Pitt County schools said closing school was a “difficult decision to make”, however, he said the school system “value (its) educators and the issues they are fighting for.”
 

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