Latest: Detroit schools say 45,000 students missed classes

AP News
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Posted: Jan 20, 2016 6:27 PM
Latest: Detroit schools say 45,000 students missed classes

DETROIT (AP) — The latest on teacher sick-outs that have closed most of Detroit's public schools (all times local):

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6 p.m.

The state-appointed emergency manager for Detroit's public schools says a sick-out by teachers caused nearly 45,000 students to miss classes.

Darnell Earley says in a release that 88 of the district's roughly 100 schools were shut down Wednesday. The district has about 46,000 students.

More than 60 schools were closed Jan. 11 due to teacher absences.

Disgruntled Detroit educators are protesting Gov. Rick Snyder's plans for the district, its poor finances, their low pay, dilapidated buildings and overcrowded classrooms. Some marched downtown Wednesday where President Barack Obama was getting a tour of Detroit's auto show.

Earley called the sick-out "a publicity stunt" and said "sooner or later, the families who have been so adversely affected by these sick-outs will express their displeasure and voice their disdain of these actions."

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3:40 p.m.

The Detroit school district has filed a lawsuit to try to stop sick-outs by teachers as thousands of students again were forced to stay home.

The request for an injunction was filed Wednesday in the state Court of Claims. It names a labor union, activists and roughly two dozen teachers.

Only a handful of Detroit's 100 schools were open as a result of widespread teacher absences. The absences started a few weeks ago, but the number of schools affected has fluctuated.

Teachers are unhappy that the debt-ridden district has allowed conditions inside their classrooms to deteriorate.

Gov. Rick Snyder says the schools are in a "crisis." The district is run by a Snyder-appointed emergency manager.

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1:45 p.m.

Several dozen people marched in front of Detroit's convention center in protest of the state of the city's school district.

Many of those who chanted and carried signs were Detroit Public Schools teachers who were taking part in a massive sick-out Wednesday that closed the majority of the district's schools.

Teachers are unhappy that the debt-ridden district has allowed conditions inside their classrooms to deteriorate.

The protest continued for more than an hour as marchers hoped to be on hand when President Barack Obama's motorcade arrived at the Cobo Center convention hall, where the president was to tour the North American International Auto Show.

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11:10 a.m.

Mayor Mike Duggan is calling for teachers in the city's troubled schools to stop staging sick-outs and return to their classrooms while state legislators work on solving the district's financial crisis.

Duggan and White House official Cecilia Munoz met with the media at a local eatery after the mayor gave Munoz a tour of some city neighborhoods.

More than 85 schools were closed Wednesday due to teacher absences, forcing thousands of students to remain home.

Duggan met Tuesday with Detroit's delegation in the Legislature to work out their strategy on trying to improve conditions in the schools, which he says "are only getting worse. Lansing needs to act."

As for the ongoing sick-outs, the mayor says teachers' "frustrations are legitimate, but the solution is not to send the kids home."

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10:15 a.m.

A spokeswoman for the Detroit Federation of Teachers says the timing and size of Wednesday's sick-out that has closed more than 85 buildings and forced thousands of students to remain home has to do with President Barack Obama's visit to the city.

Union spokeswoman Ann Mitchell tells The Associated Press that teachers "couldn't miss the opportunity" with Obama in the city to say they "really need someone to help focus on the schools."

Obama is scheduled to tour the North American International Auto Show downtown.

Wednesday's protest is the largest by Detroit teachers yet. The sick-outs also appear to be gaining support from more of the rank and file.

Mitchell says the teacher's union did not encourage educators to participate in the sickout, but adds that "the movement has grown."

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7:15 a.m.

Most of Detroit's public schools are closed for the day due to teacher absences.

Detroit Public Schools made the announcement Wednesday morning, saying more than 85 of its roughly 100 schools were shut.

On Tuesday night, a group advocating for change at city schools known as Detroit Teachers Strike to Win warned of closures as teachers continue a sick-out to protest school conditions, the district's financial condition and work environments.

Also Tuesday, Gov. Rick Snyder pushed lawmakers to pass bills to overhaul Detroit's school district during his State of the State speech.

The district says it has no choice but to close schools when teachers don't report to work. More than 60 schools were closed Jan. 11 because of an absence of teachers and other sick-outs have taken place.