Teachers across the region are meeting to discuss potential rallies and walk-outs as a result of several bills going through the legislature. Monday morning, parents in Wyoming County joined the fight and gathered to protest in front of schools across the county.
These groups spent the morning holding up signs to show solidarity with teachers and other school system personnel. Heather Morgan, a parent of a student at Baileysville Elementary, said they hope to send a message to Charleston.
“We’re protesting on behalf of our teachers, our public schools, and all state employees. We don’t think our state representatives are being fair to them,” Morgan explained.
Morgan was the driving force behind this movement. Morgan said she wanted to let her state representatives know she was up for the fight.
“These teachers hold my son’s future in their hands and if we keep running these good teachers out of the state, then who is left to teach my son?” Morgan said.
Teachers and other public employees are outraged over some of the bills moving through the state legislature. One of the biggest upsets includes changes to the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency, which would raise premiums for people who don’t meet certain health goals throughout the year.
David ‘Bugs’ Stover, Circuit Clerk for Wyoming County, is a PEIA policy holder and said these proposals seem like an invasion of privacy.
“We don’t want to go down the route where if you don’t run enough, or don’t belong to a nice health club, then your insurance is goes up. That just can’t be what we ought to be doing in America,” Stover said.
Public employees are also upset over what they see as an insufficient 1% pay raise, and a bill that would eliminate seniority as a criteria for hiring teachers.
However, not everyone in Charleston approves of these measures. Tony Paynter, Delegate for the 25th House Sistrict, joined the fight and stood alongside parents as they protested against the proposed pieces of legislation.
“As their representative, it’s my duty to come out, support them, and fight for them every chance I get,” Paynter said.
Teachers in Wyoming County will meet to announce whether they will hold a one day walk-out.