Meet the Wilsons: freshman Thomas, eighth-grader Porter, fourth-grader Kyler and mother Katie.
“I’m panicking as a parent,” Katie said.
Her children are students in the Youngstown City Schools, and they have yet to have a first day because of the ongoing teachers strike.
“Just playing baseball and just relaxing, enjoying, but I kind of want to go back in the building now,” Porter said.
“I love the extra days of summer, but this has gone far too long. We really need to get back into the classroom,” Thomas said.
“My music teacher said his father’s strike went on for 17 weeks. I don’t want ours going on for 17 weeks,” Kyler said.
Together, they’ve refused to participate in online learning because they support the teachers, and learning online would be tantamount to crossing the picket line.
“The teachers are the ones in the classroom every day, all day. They know what works and what doesn’t work,” Katie said.
Thomas, along with his mother, spoke at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
“They fully deserve the safe working conditions that they are asking for,” Thomas told the board at the meeting.
“You say the district has no money. Yet, how much money has the district spent on lawyers fighting this strike?” Katie added.
Though she fully supports the teachers, Katie says she understands both sides.
“I’ve done my research,” she said.
Seniority is a major issue that’s holding up an agreement, and while Wilson says her experience is that the senior teachers are the best teachers, she’s also had good experiences with young teachers.
“His third-grade teacher was brand new out of college, and she was pretty amazing, also,” Katie said.
When the strike started, Katie said she didn’t think it would last three-plus weeks.
“Not at all,” she said.
Katie says she has considered moving her children out of the Youngstown City School District, but the boys are enrolled in the early college programs and she’s hoping they graduate with associate college degrees.
“I keep going back to that and the teachers. That’s why we’re not leaving,” Katie said.