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Picket Supporters Cited for Beeping Horn

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MEDFORD, Ore. – A warning sign awaits drivers at Griffin Creek Elementary. Those heeding it drive by silently, some rolling down their windows to yell “honk.”

“Just wave, thumbs up, hi, smile, whatever. Just don’t honk,” said 6th grade teacher Jim Finnigan.

As the strike wears on, law enforcement agencies are responding to more reports from people getting tired of the spectacle. And while it isn’t usually enforced, they’re now handing out citations in some cases to people beeping their horns – an act that is technically illegal for anything other than warnings or emergencies.

Sheriff’s deputies say it’s necessary to avoid some of the situations that happened during the Eagle Point strike.

“There have been issues in the past where law enforcement has been needed, and we don’t want it to get to that point,” said Sgt. Rick Kennedy.

So far things haven’t gotten that bad, even if some of the reports called in suggest otherwise.

“Substitutes coming in… other people have figured out what vehicle they were in and followed them… getting in front of them, slamming on their brakes, trying to cause an accident,” said Kennedy.

From road rage to people rocking cars back and forth, deputies and police have received a number of calls. But none have been verified, and neither agency has cited for anything other than honking horns or blocking traffic.

Still, they say they do have to keep a presence, even if some would rather they didn’t.

“You know, it’s not really fair,” said picket captain Sarah Dalke. “We want people to show their support, but we understand.”

Things like chanting, even recording faces and license plate numbers of substitutes, are all perfectly legal.

Teachers say regardless of how those actions are viewed or how much law enforcement attention they draw, their goal isn’t to disrupt – just to get noticed.

“We’ve seen how we’ve been portrayed… What people say we’re going to do to people,” said Dalke. “And we’re not, we’re just going to come out here and be nice to everybody.”

9 comments

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  1. Bruce Wooten says:

    If I was on the school board, I would fire the teachers that strike. Shame on the Union to support them. There is only so much money in the budget, they can kick and scream for more money and benefits, but if the $ money is not there then the teachers need to compromise or move on to another job.

  2. Bruce Wooten says:

    Unions steal from public schools and they are no longer what they were intended to be. Teachers are forced to join or get out which seems very much to me like the work of a gang or mafia and nothing to do with a child’s best interest. First of all, unions protect incompetent teachers. Under the protection of a union, it is nearly impossible for teachers to be fired simply because they aren’t very good at doing what they’re paid to do. I’ve also seen ineffective teachers keep their jobs while highly effective teachers with less seniority have been laid off. Under union guidelines, if cuts need to be made, it isn’t the lowest performing teachers who lose their positions; instead, it’s the ones with the least amount of seniority.

  3. n says:

    I cannot believe teachers complain about pay and benefits…I have a Master’s degree in teaching plus a graduate certificate, but choose to work with young children and families who are dealing with poverty, addiction, domestic violence, and mental illness. I make half of what Medford teachers make and don’t have benefits nearly as good as theirs. I still have the same student loans Medford teachers do…but I choose to do my job because I believe it will help children and families succeed later in their lives. I love my job because of the impact it has on society and I would never strike for more money because I know the non-profit I work for doesn’t have the money and I worry about the effects a strike would have on my children, I know there are many like me in my field. We all drive old cars, shop for bargains, and live simply….All I can say is shame on you, Medford teachers.

  4. n says:

    It is one thing to picket a business in the middle of downtown. When it is in the middle of a neighborhood, such as the school district is, this is just wrong. After I work a long day, I don’t want to come home to listen to the noise of chanting or honking. Some people work graveyard and they sleep during the middle of the day. Or, perhaps, someone is elderly, ill, or on hospice. Why should they have to listen to this? Perhaps, they have a young infant who needs to sleep. It is rude and I would call the police if I was one of those neighbors…

  5. Ken Loftus says:

    Sounds like Jackson County Sheriff is taking a partisan approach. Pretty sure they would not cite someone honking in support of a local victorious football team.

  6. john says:

    Teachers are professionals and should be paid as such. All of them have college degrees, many with master’s degree, and a few with PhDs. Their salaries and benefits should be comparable to other professionals. Education is the most important job on the planet since it prepares students for the future which effect the future of our country. Most people posting negative comments on this site are ignorant of the demands and challenges teachers face in the classroom.

  7. Doug Chapman says:

    I live in Yreka, but I am very disgusted with Medford’s teachers and school board. Since when has a child’s education been less important than money. I moved to Yreka 7 years ago from Iowa. In Iowa they end fiscal year and contracts in July. Thus the kids don’t suffer like this. It is a proven fact that kids don’t learn as well in a crowded classroom. When are Medford’s teachers and school board going to remember why they are there? I would guess they all decided when they chose their profession and to run for the board, they wanted to teach and help children educate themselves, so they could have a chance to lead a good life. As I see it all they are thinking about is themselves. When will they remember that it takes a village to raise a child? I feel sorry for the kids in Medford, they are being taught that money is more important than their education.

  8. David Robson says:

    Public school teachers, like most taxpayer funded employees, enjoy more generous compensation than most. Of course to their unions, nothing is more important than money and there is never enough. When the state goes bankrupt it will be because of labor, and especially pension liability.

    That said, horn honking in the context of street demonstration is speech. I fought and won that case for all of us 22 years ago. To my knowledge, the part of the constitution which protects that right has not changed.

  9. Celin says:

    “n”
    I’m in the exact boat as you, but I fight for my rights and others’ every day of my life. I’m so sorry you’ve given up. As far as “noise” in your quaint little pristine lower-income bracket neighborhood, at least you don’t have F-16s, drones and helicopters flying over your house every day, as I do.
    Figure out what kind of world you want to live in and demand it. Is it a place where everyone should suffer as much as you do?

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