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Lafayette teachers' union demanding changes from school system

Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 22:59:26-04

LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish Association of Teachers is demanding the Lafayette Parish School System changes their latest return-to-school plan.

During a press conference held Thursday, members of the parish's largest teacher group shared their list of demands for the school system.

These demands come after it was announced Tuesday Pre-K through fifth grade students would return to school face-to-face, five days a week, by next month.

"It was kind of dropped on them, and they didn't have any input," said LPAE President Julia Reed. "There wasn't a lot of public transparency around how the decision was made. Yes, the cases are going down, but we're still in the red."

Members of the Louisiana Association of Educators also attended the press conference.

LAE President Tia Trumaine Mills says her group has received a number of complaints from lafayette teachers, who are highly concerned about returning to class.

"Make no mistake," said Dr. Mills. "The ultimate goal that we have is to ensure that educators and districts work together to ensure that there is safety across that board for all individuals returning to brick-and-mortar buildings."

Among the associations' demands to the school board are:

  • Limit classes to 12 or fewer students so that everyone can properly distance themselves.
  • Paying teachers if they're forced to quarantine without forcing them to use sick days.
  • Release the number of people who have tested positive and who are in quarantine at each site, including the central office.

"That is going to be one of the things we're judging: Is the plan working or not? If people are getting sick, then obviously, something in the plan has to change," explained Reed.

The unions say they want the school system to commit to a plan that makes everyone feel safe.

"We thank the individuals in advance who will be willing to work with the Lafayette Association of Educators to ensure that their voices are heard, our voices are heard, and that we can move forward in a positive matter," said Mills.

Reed added, "You know, they are not our enemy. We want to work together with them, and they're trying to fix things, but we want to work with them, but we can't do that if we're not kept in the loop."

Hours after the press conference, the school system released a statement. To view it, click here.