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Teachers and students should not have had to navigate unsafe roads and streets on a day that schools should have been closed.
The WTU has surveyed DC schools on Tuesday, March 14 and found that many teachers did not report to work that day due to the inclement weather. In some schools, a majority of the teachers were absent.
In addition, numerous WTU members contacted the union to complain about DCPS opening schools and forcing teachers, students and parents to navigate often risky and unsafe sidewalks and roads to come to school. Many of them said that DCPS should have used one of the “snow days” built into the school calendar.
On top of that, the decision to not close schools was not made until 5 am that morning—a last-minute decision that creates additional problems for teachers and parents.
Over 2,000 of our teachers live outside of the District, primarily because their salaries do not allow them buy or rent homes in DC. It’s unfair to ask them to travel from places like Fairfax, Gaithersburg, Waldorf and other towns and cities outside of DC to make it to work in inclement weather.
What message are we sending our children and their parents when city leaders use their authority to decide to close their own offices and stay home that day where they are safe, but then refuse to close the DC schools, thereby forcing children and DCPS school workers to report to school under these same risky and unsafe road conditions?
The WTU will be contacting Mayor Bowser and DCPS Chancellor Wilson to express the union’s concerns about the opening of DC schools on March 14, and to make sure they recognize how difficult it is for many teachers and students to get to school when we have inclement weather like we have today.
Elizabeth Davis, President
WTU is committed to representing every educator in the District of Columbia Public Schools