Cass Tech High closed due to teacher sick-out

Posted at 7:01 AM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 17:23:06-05

Cass Tech High in Detroit is closed this morning due to a teacher sick-out.

In December, a number of Detroit Public Schools shut down for a day after a number of teachers called in sick. 

7 Action News was there Tuesday morning as students arrived at Cass Tech.  Many were surprised to learn class was canceled.

"We just came to school thinking there was going to be school today, I don't really know what's going on," said freshman, Pamela Beltran.

Teachers on campus this morning said the sick-out took weeks to organize and it's critical to getting their voices heard.  They tell Action News, it's all about the lack of funding and oversized classes.

"They're increasing class sizes but they aren't giving us extra equipment, extra books, its time," said Cass Tech teacher, Erika Jones.

"There's really no democratic mechanisms to do it, we're basically left with options like this, which aren't very good but it's what we've got," said Cass Tech teacher, Joel Berger.  

DPS released the following statement regarding the sick-out: 

“We don’t disagree with people’s right to protest. However, what we do disagree with is when these protests take away instructional time from our students. To deny students their opportunity to learn in the interest of making a political statement should go against every principle a teacher holds important, and sends a terrible message to the very students to whom they are supposed to serve as role models. DPS students and their families make every effort, despite a myriad of challenges, to make it to the classroom every day. It is truly disappointing that this small subset of the District’s dedicated educators would choose to let them down this way. Students should not be taught that it’s OK to shirk their responsibilities, which is the message the teachers who call in sick - without truly being sick - are sending to their students.”

Teachers involved in the sick-out disagree and many said, their students are on board with their efforts.

"It doesn't stop education, it actually teaches our kids to stand up for what you need, stand up, don't just keep being a punching bag,” said Jones.


Teachers and Union leaders said this is likely the first of many other sick-outs this year and possibly a district wide strike.