MNPS teacher speaks out on ‘sick out’ protest

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On the second day of pay protests for Metro Nashville Public Schools teachers, the district on Monday reported more than 900 teachers called out sick.

This number is down from MNPS teacher absenses on Friday – 960, according to the district.

“Frustrated, ignored, being told by administrators and other people what we’re doing is wrong and we shouldn’t be doing it,” said an MNPS teacher who wanted to remain anonymous. “The fact of the matter is that people aren’t listening to our concerns and so we have to do something to get their attention.”

But in a protest that aims to envoke change through the power of numbers, some teachers told New 2 that pressure from the top has left some teachers feeling torn.

“Forcing people into a situation where they’re feeling very threatened, ‘Well if I do this, then they’re going to be mad at me,'” said the anonymous teacher. “It’s evaluating time. So it can affect their scores, it can affect other things.”

In an email forwarded from teachers to News 2, what appears to be a warning of an extra work day “tacked on” if school was cancelled on Monday.

That email, later backtracked, apologizing for any confusion.

The teachers we spoke with tell News 2, that email came from a Metro Schools principal.

The district would not confirm that information for us at the time.

The movement is asking for Metro governement to fully fund the district, with a 10-percent increase, instead of the proposed three-percent increase for teachers to adjust for the cost of living.

“We do not have the union where they used to have the power. They don’t anymore,” said the anonymous teacher. “So the school board hears certain things, they can only fight so much. But it has to be everybody listening.”

The teacher said she hopes the city will eventually show its support.

“We don’t want the kids to suffer – that’s not the point. But at some point, you have to say, ‘What’s going to get peoples attention?’ And obviously it’s gotten people’s attention now – ‘Oh, they are really upset, maybe we need to figure something out.'”

According to the Twitter “Teachers Are Sick,” teachers will be returning to school Tuesday.

The anonymous teacher told News 2 there is another protest planned for May 16th.

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