Chester Co. Schools cancel class May 1 in reaction to SC teacher rally

Chester Co. Schools cancel class May 1 in reaction to SC teacher rally
Schools in North Carolina and South Carolina cancel class May 1 in reaction to teacher rally

CHESTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - Chester County Schools is canceling class May 1 as teachers across South Carolina plan to rally for education reform in Columbia.

The district joins multiple districts in North Carolina, who have also canceled class that day in reaction to the teacher rally in Raleigh.

Because many of our teachers have asked for this day as a personal day of leave, we are allowing them to take this day to advocate for public education and for their students. With the School Board and Superintendent’s approval, we support our educators and their decision to exercise their collective voices," Chester County Schools Superintendent Angela Bain issued in a statement Thursday. “For this reason, we will be canceling school for all students and staff on May 1, 2019.”

Chester County Schools says they plan to make up the day at the end of the year.

“We appreciate the Chester County citizens’ support of public education in Chester County and across our state,” Bain says.

The SC for Ed #AllOutMay1 event will begin at 9 a.m. at the Department of Education on Senate Street, WISTV reports, as teachers demand better pay, smaller class size, and removing other duties from teacher contracts.

From there, teachers, parents, community members, and others will march to and around the South Carolina State House.

WISTV reports the rally comes as lawmakers mull over an 80-page bill which looks to reform South Carolina’s education system. Members of SC for Ed.

In Rock Hill, SC, more than 100 teachers have requested to take a sick day or a personal day on May 1, according to Rock Hill School District Communications Director Mychal Frost. Frost says, as of now, school will go on as scheduled.

South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman says she will not join the teachers walking out of classrooms on May 1. “Instead, I will be walking into the classroom of an absent teacher to serve as a substitute,” Spearman said.

“I became a teacher because I love and believe in education and the needs of my students always came first. Now, as State Superintendent, my first responsibility and top priority is to the nearly 800,000 students of our state. That is why on May 1, I will not be joining those teachers who decide to walk out on their classrooms. Instead, I will be walking into the classroom of an absent teacher to serve as a substitute. I am not doing this to help facilitate the walkout, but rather to do all I can to ensure as many students as possible receive the instruction they deserve. All can agree that areas of South Carolina’s education system are in need of improvement. This year, I have worked with the legislature to raise teacher salaries, provide additional mental health and safety resources for all students, and reduce excessive testing that takes valuable time away from teaching. Progress continues to be made but much more needs to be done. I support teachers using their voice to advocate for needed change and share in their commitment to ensuring reforms become reality. However, I cannot support teachers walking out on their obligations to South Carolina students, families, and the thousands of hardworking bus drivers, cafeteria workers, counselors, aides, and custodial staff whose livelihoods depend on our schools being operational. I pledge to continue fighting to improve the opportunities and resources for all South Carolina students and teachers.”
- SC State Superintendent Molly Spearman

May 1 is additionally one of the biggest days for educators across the state of North Carolina - with thousands of teachers planning to meet at the state capital.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox said nearly 2,000 employees have requested off on May 1. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students will not have school on that day as Wilcox has designated May 1 an optional teacher workday.

Wilcox, who made this decision in collaboration with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, has waived attendance requirements on May 1 for all CMS students. No make-up day is needed or will be scheduled.

Other North Carolina districts in the WBTV viewing area that have announced class cancellation on May 1 are:

  • Cabarrus County School District
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  • Hickory Public Schools
  • Iredell-Statesville Schools
  • Kannapolis City Schools
  • Mooresville Graded School District

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