Teachers hope a message was sent during Raleigh rallies

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After a full day of marching in Raleigh, a group of teachers returned to the parking lot at North Mecklenburg High School Wednesday night.

Teachers hurried off the charter bus and headed to their cars as rain fell from the sky. Before leaving, East Mecklenburg High School teacher Mary Tarrant shared a hug with some of her colleagues in the teaching profession.

"I think it was handled pretty well. It was organized pretty well," said Tarrant about the rally.

She was impressed and energized by the turnout at Wednesday's march. Even wet weather couldn't stop thousands from taking to the streets.

"The teachers that were there are the true teachers that care about our kids," said Tarrant.

While teachers have been the focus of recent discussions regarding public education, Tarrant argued that the students are what everyone ultimately cares about.

RELATED: Thousands of NC teachers rally for higher pay, better school funding

"This is about our kids – the funding. This is about getting teaching assistants back in the (kindergarten through third grade) classrooms. This is about smaller class sizes," explained Tarrant.

The East Mecklenburg teacher was joined by the school nurse, Crystal James, during Wednesday's festivities. James said she wanted to be a part of the big event even though she isn't employed by the school system.

"I see the pain. I see how the teachers suffer and the kids suffer," said James.

Jared Brown, an automotive technologies teacher at North Mecklenburg High School, helped organize transportation for the group of teachers that left North Meck early Wednesday morning.

"People who answer this call to teach should be supported," said Brown. "That's why I went because I feel like teachers should be supported and I think education is really fundamental for our society."

The automotive technologies teacher said he teaches because he wants to, not because he needs to. Brown said he had a career repairing exotic automobiles for 30 years, but he decided to retire and teach.

"I enjoy teaching. My parents were teachers. My wife's a teacher at East Meck and I'm teaching because I want to," said Brown.

The retiree turned teacher hopes that the educators were able to influence some of the lawmakers in Raleigh Wednesday.

"I don't know if the message was heard, but I know it was sent loud and clear," said Brown.

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