The Hudson School Board was asked Tuesday night to discipline teachers who caused the cancellation of classes on February 18th so they could attend a rally in Madison. The Wisconsin Education Association Council asked teachers on that day to show their opposition to Governor Walker’s plan to eliminate collective bargaining rights for teachers and most state employees.
Many school districts in the state had the day-off because of previously scheduled in-service and parent-teacher conferences. Many Hudson teachers alerted school officials they were planning to take sick leave and vacation days to join the protest, so the school district decided to call off classes.
Hudson is a Republican Party stronghold, with all but one ward in the district voting for Scott Walker in November.
“I would like to see every teacher who participated in this illegal action be fired and lose their pension,” said Lou Argonado who keeps his children is private schools as not to “expose them to union teachers.”
The teachers’ loss could become a reality under Walker’s proposal. However local officials approved a contract last year that includes a 3.8 percent increase in teacher salary and benefits and has them picking up eight percent of health insurance premiums
Another speaker demanded the teachers be forced to pay the district for the expenses incurred by families whose children stayed home from school.
Teachers attending the meeting defended their decision, saying they had to take a stand against permanent changes in their work rules. Parents who were affected the cancellation were divided on the issue.
Union spokesman Scott Ellington was asked what he would say to parents upset at the cancelation of the school day.
“I would hope that throughout the course of a history as we look 10, 20 years down the line, they’ll better understand why perhaps some teachers chose to make a stand on February 18th in Hudson.”
School board members heard from 19 people including 3 students – 1 for and 2 against the teachers – before adjourning into a brief executive session.
The board did not take any action against the teachers.