Community Rally to Support Burlington Teachers During Strike

Burlington, Vt. - Some parents are saying they've had enough and rallied in support of Burlington teachers.

Community members and the Burlington Education Association took over City Hall Park Sunday evening to send a message admist a teacher strike.

This comes after a cancelled School Board meeting last Tuesday. President of the BEA Fran Brock felt as though people wanted to send a message.

"I think there were some people who felt they were prepared to talk to the Board at that meeting," Brock said. "The meeting was cancelled so they were looking for some way to express their concerns."

Brock explained community members wanted to hold this rally and came to the BEA for help organizing.

Parents, children and educators surrounded city hall steps while some stepped to the microphone like Devon Ayres. Ayres is the parent of a second grader who attends the Integrated Arts Academy. She shared stories about how teachers went above and beyond their job descriptions to help families– including her own.

"His first grade teacher came to me at Parent Teacher Conference and said Devon, I see you guys are really struggling. Let me help you," Ayres said. "Let me help connect you to the services that you need in order for your family to feel back on track."

With a third day of school being missed on Monday due to the strike, people all over the city are speaking out.

City Council will be voting Monday on whether to send a letter to both the Board and the Education Association asking to, "...return to the negotiation table without delay. These negotiations cannot wait another moment."

Ayres shared a similar message to fellow parents at the rally.

"Call your school board member, call Mr. Obeng, call Mr. Porter," she said. "Please tell them to get back to the table now, to lift the imposition and let our teachers do their jobs– the jobs they're really good at."

Brock said the teachers plan to continue their strike first thing Monday morning.

Local 22 & Local 44 reached out to the Burlington School District for comment. Communications Specialist Erik Wells said, "the board hasn't made any new statements this weekend."

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