Bill to punish teachers in sick-outs introduced

Posted at 8:02 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 20:02:07-05

Should new laws be passed to crack down on the teachers calling in sick to protest conditions in Detroit Public Schools?

A group of Republican lawmakers introduced legislation today.

Senate Bills 713, 714, and 715 were introduced by State Sens. Phil Pavlov, Joe Hune, and David Robertson on Thursday. 

The bills if passed would make it easier to punish teachers who take part in a sick-out or strike. It would impose fines on the union as well as teachers. 

Teachers would face the possible loss of their certification, which allows them to teach in Michigan schools.

“When thousands of children are denied valuable instructional time and their parents are left scrambling to ensure they’re cared for because their schools have been shut down by teachers refusing to work, that’s a strike and it’s illegal,” said Pavlov, R–St. Clair Township.

Teachers say they are calling in sick to protest conditions in Detroit Public Schools. 

They say the buildings are in too many cases in dangerous disrepair.  Numerous buildings have unaddressed leaking roofs and plumbing leading to water damage and mold growth. 

Kids at Cody High School complain that the ceiling keeps falling down on them due to water damage.

Teachers say their classes are overcrowded.  One math teacher described having 42 classes in a room with 33 desks.

Teachers are stuck at the level of pay they were given when they were hired. That means some teachers with less overall experience are brought in at a higher pay than current teachers because pay is based on experience you have when you take the job. While wages are frozen, health care costs have increased.

There are not enough teachers. The district has about 170 teacher vacancies. Many kids are in classes without certified teachers instructing them.  They are falling behind.

The district says it is working to address issues, but faces severe financial distress. 

What do you think? Should lawmakers make it easier to punish teachers taking part in protests?