Thousands pack W.Va. Capitol grounds, march in support of educators

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Thousands on Friday afternoon packed the West Virginia Capitol grounds, including students and parents showing support for striking teachers and state service personnel.

WSAZ/Jatara McGee

The boisterous rally came on the seventh day of the statewide teacher strike in West Virginia. High schoolers from Boone County hosted the rally as a way to support their teachers.

Students Jazmine Aliff and Juliana Purdue say they came up with the idea after joining their teachers earlier in the week and noticing students were not there.

"I just thought that we should show them that we can be there for them too," said Purdue.

After creating the Facebook event Wednesday evening, the rally had more than 1,000 RSVPs before the Friday event. After students spoke in front of the crowd in support of the men and women who teach them, they walked around the Capitol complex in unity before going inside themselves.

Inside the Capitol prior to the rally, teachers and school service personnel were heard chanting ‘’see you Monday’’ and ‘’we aren’t going away’’ -- sending lawmakers a message that they aren’t leaving until there is more movement and action following Gov. Jim Justice’s promise earlier this week.

The one piece of legislation people are watching is the pay raise bill that would give educators a 5 percent raise. In the hands of Senate, it is not expected to be discussed until Saturday.

That bill was briefly discussed by the Senate on Thursday after the House passed it, but the Senate voted to send it to their Finance Committee. Its members postponed a Friday afternoon meeting until Saturday. It is still unclear whether the bill will be discussed.

Even if classes aren’t cancelled Monday morning, a lot of teachers and school service personnel are expected back at the Capitol then.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and for the latest information.

WSAZ/Jatara McGee
WSAZ/Chad Hedrick

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