Parents divided over MNPS teacher protests

Education

While many parents are supportive of the Metro Schools teacher protests, other parents are sharing their concerns.

For parents like Laura Harnish, Thursday’s teacher sick-out was another day of frustration. 

“It bothers us that they’re taking out sick days, and putting our kids in the middle because that’s what’s happening,” Harnish said.

Within minutes of dropping off her ninth-grade son, Gavin, at McGavock High School on Thursday, Harnish had to bring him right back home.

“My son walks into school and walks right back out because the teacher says there’s nobody here to take attendance so you can leave,” she said. “That’s wrong.”

Thursday marked the third day of “sick-outs” for Metro teachers in the last few weeks. 

MNPS teachers are calling on the school board and Mayor David Briley for a 10% salary increase, instead of the proposed 3%, which teachers say does not keep up with cost-of-living increases in Nashville nor does it take into account the many years in recent history they didn’t get a raise.

“Because we are the ‘IT’ city, we need to become that ‘IT’ city by funding our schools,” said Lucy Jenkins, an MNPS teacher and mother of a five-year-old, sees the sick outs as necessary. “I wear both hats and I can see firsthand how not having teachers in the school, not having textbooks for all the children affect my son,” Jenkins told News 2.

But Harnish said the protests are only making matters worse.

“I support the teachers 100%. They deserve raises, some more than 10%,” Harnish said.”It’s frustrating — it’s the end of the year, so many kids have so many things they have to catch up on, makeup,” she said.

Harnish said the solution ultimately shouldn’t take away from students.

“Teachers and parents need to band together and find a solution and find a way to fight this together,” Harnish told News 2. “Parents have to get behind them. We have to go to the board meetings and we have to voice our concerns, too. My concern is these teachers need to be paid but not at the expense of my son.”

Harnish said she hopes teachers will put off future protests until the school year is over.

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