DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) -- The Douglas County School Board is holding a special meeting Friday evening, after hundreds of teachers called in sick on Thursday -- and many joined parents in a protest outside the district's headquarters. Several members of the school board are accused of acting illegally to try to push out the superintendent -- who has been outspoken in favor of mask mandates.
The planned "sickout" forced classes to be canceled at Douglas County schools.
They were supposed to be in school, but the lesson here after calling in sick was to show support for an embattled superintendent and the district's long-planned equity program. Hundreds of Douglas County Schools teachers and their supporters carried signs outside the district headquarters on Castle Rock.
From a microphone, one man shouted, "I support the teachers, they are the professionals."
Superintendent Corey Wise has been with the district for more than two decades in various roles, now his job might be in jeopardy. A new conservative majority has control of the school board and The other three board directors say those in control want him out.
On Wednesday, Douglas County School District issued a statement that read, in part, "...we have reached the point where the number of absences has impacted our ability to provide a safe and supervised learning environment for students. As a result, [Thursday] will be a no-student contact day."
School board leaders, President Mike Peterson and Vice President Christy Williams, are accused of giving Superintendent Corey Wise an ultimatum last week.
Peterson and Williams allegedly told Wise that four conservative members of the school board were prepared to move forward with the termination process if he didn't resign.
Wise has been outspoken in favor of the mask mandate.
Many teachers are fighting back in person and online.
Kacie Nice, a parent, has organized a drive she hopes will even lead to a recall of the new board members, "This right now is a petition to show for the teachers, for Corey Wise and to show support that we want this recall."
Classes were called off after so many teachers planned to call in sick.
Christina Courtney, a teacher was asked by CBS4, "Was it in the best interest of children to be out there rather than in the classroom?"
She replied, "That's something that was really hard for me to process and grapple with."
Cars passed by honking horns for the demonstrators. While the support was audible and visible there was some opposition.
One man carrying a sign in opposition to the "sick out" said, "I think it's a disservice to kids."
A man watching the protest complained, "They've already had remote learning and all this I just think they should be in school."
And for the kids present, it was a different type of education.
Annika Visser, the daughter of a teacher said, "Our teachers, especially my teachers teach us to stand up for ourselves and stand up for what we believe in."
Three other members of the school board held a meeting Monday night to express their concerns. They say the others may have broken the law if they took action without holding a meeting that was open to the public.
The school board has scheduled a special meeting for 5 p.m. on Friday.
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