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South Carolina teachers, parents react to canceled protest

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 6:57 PM EDT
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FORT MILL, S.C. (WBTV) - A South Carolina teacher protest was canceled after a flurry of threatening messages concerning the event was posted online.

A teacher advocacy group says the Governor’s executive order was the last straw for teachers across the state. SC for Ed planned to protest that among other negative aspects that came out of the pandemic, but the groups say numerous threats for the planned protest put them and supporters in danger.

Teachers say they were called Nazis and bullies when news of the protest was released. Fearing for their safety, the event was canceled leaving teachers looking for different ways to have their voices heard.

This is what teachers across South Carolina were planning on doing today, but instead, their protests looked more like this.

”Nothing’s changed except for our location,” says Katie Harris, a SC for Ed area rep and teacher.

An all-hands-on-deck statehouse protest turned into small internal teacher meetings and phone calls to the governor and legislators.

”The passion, the advocacy, the motivation to make change in this state, none of that’s gone we’re just no longer meeting in Columbia to do it,” she says.

Teachers like Katie Harris say the executive order lifting mask mandates in schools was just the tip of the iceberg. Not prioritizing teachers for vaccines, forcing some back into the classrooms during a pandemic and freezing teacher pay were all hot-button issues teachers wanted to protest.

”All year long teachers have been dealing with nonstop issues,” says Harris.

”If the straw that broke the camel’s back I don’t feel in my heart that that should have been the last straw,” says Melissa Maynard. “Your last straw should have been awhile ago if these were all these issues just stacking up.”

Maynard agrees with teacher’s rights to protest but is concerned about the time they chose to do it.

”The moment you bring that into the classroom where you’re taking a day off from school to do that you’re now affecting my student,” says Maynard.

Maynard says she does not condone the threats made by other people, some parents. However, she wants teachers to use emails, letters and phone calls instead of signs and chants to get their point across.

”If you need something you have to ask but to protest about it, if that’s what it’s truly about, I think we’re going about it the wrong way,” she says.

As of right now, there is no legal action planned against the people communicating threats to teachers and SC for ED is not planning to reschedule the Enough is Enough protest.

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