Teacher strike spurs protests in Arlington, Stanwood
STANWOOD, Wash. -- Teachers were out of class and on the picket lines Wednesday, marking the first round of one day-strikes.
The protests are affecting several school districts and more are expected to follow. Teachers, parents and students spent several hours marching in Stanwood on Wednesday morning, calling on state lawmakers to make education funding more of a priority.
Dozens also gathered 10 miles south in Arlington protesting the legislature.
"We feel that we're being treated unfairly," said Lakewood Middle School teacher Ron Detrick.
Teachers from the Lakewood School District lined sidewalks starting at 7 a.m. between Arlington and Marysville. They say their top priority is getting the legislature to fully fund education as ordered by the state Supreme Court.
"This is nothing against any of our kids or any of our parents, the community or our school district," Detrick said. "This is toward our legislators."
Even some of the younger students are hearing that message.
"It can help us because we get smaller class sizes, so it'll help us learn and get a better education," a student protester told KING 5.
Along with smaller class sizes, teachers are demanding a bigger pay check, and many parents say they should get it.
"It's an incredibly difficult job and I think they need our support," said Stanwood mom Kristy Butler.
Butler brought her 5th grade son, Bryce, to Wednesday's protest in Stanwood.
"[Teachers] are not getting enough support from the government," said Bryce.
Supporters say the protest is a learning opportunity for Bryce and many of his classmates, even on a day with no school.
"We had to be a little bit cautious on how we present it because, of course, we can't present our opinions, but [we] could address this in our civics classes," explained Detrick.
Experts say what teachers are calling for will cost billions of dollars, but teachers say they believe lawmakers can find a way to do it.
Teachers from the Stanwood-Camano, Arlington and Lakewood School Districts went on strike Wednesday. Teachers in Blaine, Ferndale, Bellingham and Mount Vernon will go on strike Friday. Next week, Sedro Woolley teachers are scheduled to strike.
Teachers in other school districts, including the Seattle Schools, are considering a strike.