Around 100 Livingston Parish teachers participate in ‘sick out’ over district’s reopening procedures

Livingston Parish public schools teachers speak out about why they participated in 'sick out'

LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Livingston Parish school officials confirm that nearly 100 teachers participated in a “sick out" Wednesday, Sept. 23.

The teachers did it as a way to express their concerns about some of the school’s coronavirus reopening procedures.

“Our goal today was just to make an impression on the school board and the central office to say that we teachers are officially going to stand up for ourselves,” said Andrew Pullman, a teacher in Livingston Parish.

Pullman is an art and technology teacher at Walker High School. He says one of their biggest struggles this school year has been teaching in a hybrid learning model.

“It turned out to be something very taxing on a lot of the teachers; students were struggling, parents were struggling, everyone was struggling, and when we brought that to the school board, we left feeling like they were falling on deaf ears,” Pullman says.

Livingston Parish School superintendent Joe Murphy recently announced the school district was expanding its Strong Start Committee to help address teacher concerns.

“This afterthought of a committee is a perfect example of the lack of communication,” Shannon King says.

King, a school teacher who also called out today, says while she’s grateful the district has taken a step forward she does not believe it will fairly represent the voices of teachers like herself who are in the classroom every day.

“We are looking for a committee beyond COVID; we will always have struggles in our system that is the nature but we want to, whether it be curriculum whether it be a struggle with technology, we want to have a voice and we want it to be teachers that are voted on by teachers,” King says.

Pullman and King say their ultimate goal is to provide the best learning environment for their students.

“Teachers in Livingston parish are unified, we are unified by a single desire to give kids the best education that we can,” Pullman says.

“That’s what this is all about it’s not about us it’s about them and I think that that is getting lost in translation,” King says.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers reports nearly 300 teachers participated in the “sick out,” while officials with Livingston Parish Public Schools report the number of teachers who called out was under 100.

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