MEDFORD, Ore. – Megaphones blare among a sea of parents filling the front lawn of the Medford School District headquarters.
“I’d like them to open their eyes, open their ears, open their minds to what they’re doing,” said parent Jon Buckley.
Fourteen days of striking have left demonstrators with little hope, but plenty of energy. Many say they see the teachers on the picket lines as members of their family.
“They showed up for the kids’ dad’s funeral five years ago, every one of them,” said Cody Gossman, a parent at the rally. “They have always looked out for our kids and cared for them, so we’re here to support them.”
Fewer than half–49 percent–of the students in the district attended school on Wednesday. Many remained at home or on the picket lines.
Some parents say it’s to demonstrate solidarity, others say it’s because there’s little education going on in the classrooms.
“The sub is just there to sub,” said parent Tammy Shukoski. “They’re not really there to educate our kids; they don’t know them.”
But while voices boomed at the district headquarters, the negotiating teams remain silent – a good thing according to some.
“That both teams are still at the table is definitely a good sign. So, that being the case, we’re very positive about that,” said MEA Communications Chair Catherine Brasseur.
District representatives say progress is slow but moving. And while both teams acknowledged the possibility of a 24-hour marathon session, they also acknowledged it could take more days to reach an agreement.