Large group of Detroit teachers protest outside Cobo Center

DETROIT – A large group of Detroit teachers and their supporters have gathered outside Cobo Center in protest.

The teachers are part of a sick-out on Wednesday, which has forced the district to close 88 of its 97 schools.

The protest comes the same day President Barack Obama is in the city to tour the North American International Auto Show at Cobo.

“We are not just a group of rogue teachers. We’re not just a group of wild cat teachers, or whatever we’ve been called. We are teachers, period, who teach in Detroit and love our kids,” Vanessa Dawson. “Because of that, we are disrespected and we’re tired.”

 On Tuesday night, a group advocating for change at city schools known as Detroit Teachers Strike to Win warned of closures as teachers continue to protest school conditions, the district's financial condition and work environments.

Gov. Rick Snyder pushed lawmakers to pass bills to overhaul Detroit's school district during his State of the State speech.

Related story: Detroit mayor says teachers in sick-out should return to schools

Statement from Detroit Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski:

Detroit Public Schools had no other choice but to close 88 schools today due to a high volume of teacher absences. This means that 44,790 of the District's 46,325 students lost a critical day of instruction. There were, however, nine district schools that stayed open today. We appreciate the teachers and staff at those schools for being in their classrooms and ensuring that their students are learning today. All DPS employees have sacrificed a tremendous amount over the last eight years to move our District forward. We can't thank them enough for their hard work under very difficult circumstances. However, students need to be in the classroom learning. Since last week, the District has been meeting with the DFT to develop viable solutions to issues that can be immediately addressed. And, in fact, we have come to an agreement on three of those issues. The only way we will be able to address the bigger issues is through an investment by the Michigan Legislature in the students and families of DPS by the Michigan. Obtaining this support becomes more difficult with each sick out that happens.