UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Union County lawmaker is calling teachers planning to attend a march on Raleigh for better school funding an inconvenience to thousands of parents and says that "teacher union thugs" want to control education.
Republican Representative Mark Brody, who represents Union and Anson counties, posted the remarks Friday afternoon on his Facebook page. The remarks come in response Union County Schools being forced to give an "Optional Teacher Workday" next Wednesday after nearly half of the teachers in the county called out to attend the rally.
The district's superintendent made the decision Friday afternoon saying "this number of absences creates safety and security concerns for our schools."
According to organizers, Wednesday's rally is intended to call for increasing teacher pay and investment in public education, lowering staff ratios in schools, and decreasing class sizes.
Since the announcement of the rally, more than 30 school districts across North Carolina have had to close on Wednesday.
Brody says teachers are choosing to "inconvenience" parents in order "to pressure the General Assembly to increase their pay."
"Let's call this what it is, Teacher Union thugs want to control the education process!" Brody wrote. "I am speaking up because I don't want Union County schools, and for that matter all NC school systems, to turn into Chicago. Let the Union thugs get their way now and we are half way there."
Brody says school will be out of session for the summer in three weeks and North Carolina legislators will still be in session in Raleigh.
"The hypocrisy is that they say they are supporting the students. One less day of instruction does not help students," Brody said. "Teaching our children that it is OK to not show up for work does not set a good example."
He says teachers who are protesting are inconveniencing people, which he says is the "main tactic of the Labor Union movement." Brody adds that he strongly supports teachers who "do the right thing."
"Your biggest legislative support comes from the Republican State legislature," he said. "Your greatest enemy for the causes you strive for is the Teacher Union, your incompetent and/or spineless local administrations and, the biggest problem of them all, the NC Department of Public Instruction."
"A heartfelt THANK YOU to all those teachers who continue to fight for the cause of quality education, who proudly display a role model example that shows our children there is a right way to do and accomplish things, will stand up to the bullies and self serving thugs of the Teachers Union and believe in showing up for work," he ended his note.
The post was shared several hundred times by 7 p.m. Friday night and had nearly 500 comments. Brody is currently in his third term in the North Carolina House of Representatives.
So far, this is the list of schools that have canceled class amid the teacher's march in Raleigh: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Mooresville Graded School District, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Cabarrus County Schools, Hickory City Schools, Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Kannapolis City Schools, Gaston County Schools and Stanly County Schools.