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Despite threat of sick-outs, Detroit schools are open

DETROIT – Despite threats of a sick-out on Monday by Detroit teachers, the district says schools are open. 

Late Sunday afternoon, the group organizing the sick-outs said it's essential to show that they don't support the governor's plan for Detroit Public Schools. But the Teachers Union president told Local 4 News the group, which is separate, has no say in the matter.

"(It is necessary) because teachers realize it's on us to defend public education in Detroit, and we've got to do so just like we did before," Detroit teacher Nicole Conaway said. "I think this is (a) restarting of the actions we saw back in the winter."

Lawmakers are working to allocate close to $50 million to DPS for immediate aid. But Steve Conn said Gov. Rick Snyder's plan will destroy the district.

"We're not going to accept it," Conn said. "We're marching tomorrow. Teachers are going to be sicking out across the city, coming down, marching at 12 (noon) at the Fisher Building. And we are marching for civil rights and equality for the young people, the resources people need and for quality public school system."

Teachers Union President Ivy Bailey told Local 4 News this sick-out does not represent the majority of the district's 3,500 teachers. Bailey said any sick-out is simply counter-productive to efforts of the students and teachers.

Bailey said she does not expect classes to be disturbed.

“It’s critical that everyone knows the facts about a supposed sick-out on Monday and where the Detroit Federation of Teachers stands," Bailey said in a statement. "Unfortunately we have to respond to someone who does not represent teachers. The Detroit Federation of Teachers, which represents and speaks for Detroit Public Schools teachers and other school staff, does not support a sick-out. In fact, when we heard rumors Friday about a possible sick-out, we talked with educators in every school, and the overwhelming majority, including teachers who attend the schools of the leaders of the sick-out, said they do not want to participate in a sick-out on Monday.

“The DFT and its members are focused like a laser on finding real solutions to the very real problems plaguing our schools. We have a lot of work to do in Lansing and in Detroit, and right now, sick-outs are counterproductive to our goals of getting the short-term and long-term funding our schools need to survive, gaining local control, getting the tools and resources educators need for their jobs and working on a high-quality education agenda that will help transform our school system.”