BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A total of 531 East Baton Rouge Parish school teachers were out of the classroom Monday, April 12, some of them taking part in a “sickout” protest of a plan to start the next school year much earlier than normal.
The plan still needs to be approved by the school board when the board meets on April 22.
It is unclear how many of the 531 absent teachers were part of the staged sickout.
EBR Schools Superintendent Sito Narcisse announced the earlier start to the upcoming school year last month. Narcisse said the earlier start is needed to help students catch up on lessons missed during COVID-19 disruptions in the past year.
Named the “Smart Start” initiative, it requires to teachers to return to their classrooms about two weeks earlier than normal.
The plan will add eight school days to the district calendar. Under the plan, teachers would return to the classroom on July 19. Students would report on July 28.
“While we experienced a slight uptick in total absences today, we were able to lend support where needed to ensure that high-quality instruction continued for students,” Narcisse said in a statement Monday morning. “We are blessed to have some of the most passionate and devoted teachers and staff in the country. Our teachers are committed to their students and understand the pivotal role they play in developing the future of Baton Rouge. We work and live by our motto - Every student, in every community, in every class every day. I recognize that this plan requires personal sacrifices; however, growth cannot occur without bold action. This is the first step on our path to changing educational outcomes for our children.”
The 531 teachers absent Monday represent 16 percent of EBR’s total instructional staff, the system said. In comparison, 359 teachers were absent on Monday, March 29 (10%). The district is home to 3,328 teachers.
This is a developing story and there will be much more, including what teachers have to say, in our noon, 4, 5, and 6 newscasts.
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