By Sahid Fawaz
West Virginia's Attorney General had some words for striking teachers yesterday.
"Ohio County Schools officials continue to prepare for a planned two-day teacher walkout set for today and Friday, while teachers and school service employees are strategizing for additional rolling walkouts in selective counties starting Monday if the West Virginia Legislature fails to address their calls for lower health care premiums and higher pay.
These preparations come as West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Wednesday said the planned work stoppage is 'illegal' and his office stands ready to support any state agency in enforcing the law.
'Any such action would be consistent with my duty as attorney general to uphold the rule of law and designed so as to ensure our students have access to the education they are entitled to by our state’s constitution,' Morrisey said.
'Breaking the law does not set a good example for our children.'
Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller told board of education members called for a special meeting Wednesday morning the district plans to resume its regular schedule on Monday.
Members Sarah Koegler, Shane Mallett, Christine Carder and Tim Birch were present, while board president Zach Abraham participated by phone.
'Student safety is number one,' Miller said. 'We are asking people not planning to work Monday to use the call-out system so that we can continually monitor who is planning to come to work, and who is not.
'We will cancel school if that is in the best interest of the students. At no time do we want students standing at a bus stop with no bus driver coming, or have children go to Wheeling Park High School without adequate supervision. We have to err on the side of safety.'
One-time school events, however, such as the state wrestling tournament set for this weekend in Huntington, will go on as planned, but bus transportation will not be provided. School events that can be rescheduled will be moved to another time, she said.
Miller said she and other administrators understand the concept of a walkout or strike by public workers is against West Virginia law.
'An injunction may occur in the near future that will force me to force employees to come to work,” she said. “I’m not sure exactly where that will go, but I’m told it will happen.'
Miller described the teachers thus far as “being respectful,” and said administrators will continue to work with them and support their efforts as they recognize teachers’ wages across West Virginia rank 48th among the 50 states."
For the rest of the story visit the Wheeling News Register here.