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Hundreds of Durham Public School District educators and supporters gathered in the rain on Wednesday (Jan. 31) in protest, causing a dozen school closures.

WRAL reports that educators from 12 schools called out from work to attend a protest by the Durham Association of Educators (DAE). According to DAE president Symone Kiddoo, the protest is a response to recent decisions made by the district in the midst of an ongoing staffing crisis.

The first protest, at the DPS Staff Development Center on Hillandale Road, included more than 300 protesters. A second protest is planned for 2 pm at the DPS Fuller Building.

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“School staff remain upset by the district’s failure to be transparent about its budgeting and decision-making, its lack of action on years of experience and staff salary,” the DAE said in a press release. “And not being inclusive of educators’ voices. Until respect is given, trust cannot be rebuilt.”

Added Kiddoo on Facebook:

As a new mom, I understand the anxiety that comes with last-minute changes to schedules and the burdens this may cause. But I assure you, we are doing this for our current and future students.

According to a DPS spokesperson, the following schools will be closed Wednesday:

  • Hillside High School
  • Y.E. Smith Elementary
  • Riverside High School
  • Northern High School
  • The Whitted School
  • Lyons Farm Elementary
  • Githens Middle School
  • Spring Valley Elementary
  • Forest View Elementary
  • Lakewood Elementary
  • Lucas Middle School
  • Jordan High School

Kiddoo says the protest is a response to years of “the state’s chronic underfunding of public schools,” expedited by a change in policy that forced staff to take a pay cut after DPS said they would not recognize years of experience in other districts.

The new policy, according to the DAE, would negatively impact more than 1,300 staff members.

The DPS board of education said in a statement that they are continuing to work with employees on a resolution.

Lunch & Dinner Accommodations For DPS Families

Since many DPS students depend on school lunches, families from the closed schools can pick up food from several locations.

  • DPS Staff Development Center: 2107 Hillandale Road, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Iglesia Emanuel: 2504 N Roxboro St., 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Believers United for Progress: 1306 Fayetteville St., 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Jubilee Baptist: 2025 Ephesus Church Road, Chapel Hill, 10:30 a.m.
  • Bell Yeager Free Will Baptist: 128 E Cornwallis Road, 10 to 12 p.m.
  • Russell Memorial CME: 703 S Alston Ave., 9 a.m. to noon
  • Durham Community Food Pantry: 2020 Chapel Hill Rd #30, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. or 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

12 Durham Schools Closed Due to Educators’ “Sickout” Over District Pay Cuts  was originally published on