Perry schools support OK teacher walkout, do not close schools


The Perry High School marquis displays the current date and date of the teacher walkout for Oklahoma on Monday. Though supportive of the movement, Perry schools were in session on the day of the walkout due to end-of-year scheduling requirements while many other schools around the state were closed for the event.

Brigette Waltermire

PERRY, Oklahoma – Schools in Perry, Oklahoma, were not closed for the teacher walkout on April 2, 2018, in Oklahoma City.

School faculty and the school board supported the teachers, but it was decided at the end of last week that school would remain in session.

Faculty meetings were held in Perry of the past two weeks, with around 75 teachers in attendance, said Terry McCarty, superintendent for Perry Public Schools. He said the meetings provided a conduit for information, which allowed him to share facts he had received regarding the walkout and make sure the teachers’ voices were heard.

“Initially, the desire was that we would participate in this walkout,” said McCarty.”It’s a very difficult decision. A lot of our teachers were torn over this. I think a lot of people that are involved in education are totally in support of this movement and proud it’s taking place.”

The decision to keep schools open was made after days were missed due to inclement weather, professional development days, and for four days, the flu. Of the past 34 weekdays, Perry schools were open for half of those days. McCarty said due to these closures, there were pressures related to testing and adding more time to make up to the schedule that led to the decision to stay open, especially since 20 minutes had been added to the daily schedule for the rest of the school year.

While schools remained open, teachers were still showing their support for the statewide walkout.

“People might not go in full force, but several teachers are there today,” McCarty said in reference to Perry teachers. “It’s just not school that’s shut down.”

He said many felt fighting against inadequate funding was important. Perry faces many of the same funding issues that are highlighted by the walkout, such as overcrowding in classrooms, damaged furniture and old textbooks.

“We are trying to work in conjunction with what’s best for Perry at the same time while supporting this initiative that is taking place across the state,” McCarty said.

Sam Brown and Vlad Alforov contributed to this article.