RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - Thousands of North Carolina Educators invaded the state capital Wednesday demanding change.
Some of their requests include every school should have a full-time nurse. Some schools only have a nurse present a few days a week. The rest of the time teachers and secretaries are responsible to assist students with medical needs.
Teachers also say schools should have librarians and social workers. Olympic High School teacher Suzanne Newsom says her school has neither. She believes the absence of a librarian hurts kids.
“Especially at the high school level,” Olympic High School teacher Suzanne Newsom said. “When we are trying to connect students to the skills that they need so they can be successful in college.”
She also says not having a social worker the school is unable to provide the extra support students may need to cope with life issues.
"We have no social worker at Olympic High School," Newsom said. "We have not had one for about six years."
Teachers are also want lawmakers to expand Medicaid so poor students can get the help they need.
"Get the healthcare that they need," Newsom said. "So they are ready to learn everyday."
Teachers are also concerned about the quality of life of some school employees. Teachers would like non-certified workers to earn at least $15 an hour. Some Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) cafeteria workers showed up at the rally. They earn about $12 an hour. They are part-time with no benefits. They say earning $15 an hour would make a difference.
“It’s very stressful,” Reid Park Academy Cafeteria Worker Ashley Nesome said. “I have two kids. I have a car note. I pay rent. I got utilities and sometimes I got to sacrifice to see which one I am going to pay.”
CMS says about 40 percent of its work force make less than $15 an hour. Leaders hope that will change but it won’t happen if politicians don’t offer the district more money. Lawmakers say they hear the demands of teachers and say they are improving teacher pay, but teachers say it’s more than about pay.
Governor Roy Cooper addressed the crowd. He says everyday he will fight for teachers and for public education in North Carolina. He told teachers they are worthy
"Educators are key to strong safe communities," NC Governor Roy Cooper said. "And you deserve the support in the many roles that you play - that means significantly better pay for all teachers and principals - including our veteran teachers and support staff. It means more school nurses and counselors."
State leaders are currently going over state budget as it relates to education. Teacher raises are proposed and also reinstating advanced degree pay is also in the budget.
Former State NAACP President Rev. William Barber told the teachers to keep fighting and to hold lawmakers accountable.
"We have to teach them a lesson," Political Activist Rev. William Barber said. "And here is the lesson - if you mess with teachers and you mess with support staff and those who work for less than $15 and a Union and those who have need of Medicare expansion - you've gone too far."
After the rally teachers organized and came up with strategies to help push their agenda. They are keeping a report on lawmakers to see how if they are for or against teachers recommendations.
More than 19,000 teachers showed up in red last year in Raleigh. No word how many teachers came this year. Teachers believe change was made last year and they hope they can see change again this year.