Jefferson County Teachers Participating In 'Sick Out' Could Be Docked Pay
GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4/AP) - There was no school on Monday for students at Golden High School and Jefferson High School in Edgewater.
Classes were canceled at Golden and Jefferson high schools after 81 percent and 70 percent of teachers called in sick respectively. Some students who had the day off hit the street to protest against a proposal from the board's new conservative majority to review the history course to make sure it promotes patriotism and doesn't condone social disorder.
The sick out comes after more than a week and a half of students walking out of class and teachers calling in sick.
Teachers have been upset about a proposal that staggers how much they get for a raise depending on how their students perform.
Parents have told CBS4 in the past they are concerned this could drive out good teachers from the county.
Another big issue is that students are fired up about a proposal that encourages a committee be formed to review coursework and ensure that an AP history class' material essentially promote patriotism and not condone civil disobedience. Students have called that censorship.
"America was founded on civil disobedience, so it's very bothersome that that wants to be taken out," Golden High senior Rachel Hilbrecht said.
VIDEO: News Conference: Jeffco School Officials Threaten Discipline Over Teacher 'Sick Out'
The school board has previously denied that the proposal amounts to censorship.
At Jefferson High School in Edgewater, about 30 students marched to busy Wadsworth Boulevard and protested in front of the school holding signs such as "We have a right to know history."
"We're supporting our education by walking out," a student said.
Students on Monday told CBS4 they have no plans to stop protesting until the newly-elected conservative school board addresses their concerns.
At Golden High School, English teacher Tammie Peters told The Denver Post that teachers are "sick of the board majority actions."
Superintendent Dan McMinimee said teachers who couldn't prove they were sick could be docked a day's pay and that teachers who continue to use sick days to protest could ultimately be punished for insubordination.
"What's the end game? What is to be gained from taking away a day of education for students and putting families in a difficult situation," he asked.
He was more sympathetic to students, who have not been disciplined apart from getting unexcused absences for walking out of class to protest. McMinimee, who has a standing invitation to meet with any students on the issue, said students are worried about keeping a rigorous curriculum and being able to compete with students from elsewhere. If the board moves ahead with the proposal, he said he would ask that students be included.
The Jefferson County School District is the second largest in the state.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for this Thursday. The AP history class proposal is not on the agenda.
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