Teachers Rally Over Sick Day Policy

By: Laurabree Austin Email
By: Laurabree Austin Email

Teachers who didn't protest over pay raises this week say they're ready to walk out over sick days. Thursday night in Kanawha County the school board heard from a roomful of passionate teachers. The district is considering revising its current attendance policy because millions of dollars are spent every year on substitutes.

Teachers say they deserve respect and they don't feel they're getting it. So much so, Kanawha County teachers stood in the pouring rain to let their opinions be known. They say they backed down over money...but not this.

Sick days are a hot button issue...both for teachers and school board members. Teachers currently get fifteen sick days, but the school board says it can't afford to keep paying for those teachers who abuse that policy. School board members say they believe after teachers should be held accountable.

Another part of the attendance policy includes an incentive for good attendance, but board member Pete Thaw says he's completely opposed to that idea. Thaw says no one should be paid for simply doing their jobs, and many of these teachers agree...they say their issue is with sick days.

The issue is once again going back to the drawing board. The policy will go to committee and the board says it plans to review it in another month. Board member Bill Raglin says you're never going to make everyone happy and after two years of dealing with this issue it's time to make some decisions.

Part of the proposed policy gave the district the option of refusing doctor's notes -- but tonight the board say it's in no place to question a doctor's opinion.

One other big issue on the table Thursday night: the Kanawha County schools nepotism policy. A school board committee had proposed expanding the definition of "immediate family" to include in-laws, for example. The committee also talked about not allowing two or more members of the same family, for example a husband and wife, to work in the same school.

In the end the district decided only to make one change to the current nepotism policy. It used to prohibit anyone from being a direct supervisor of a relative. Now you can't be the indirect supervisor of a relative.

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