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.”