COMPTON (CBSLA.com) — The Compton Unified School District fielded questions from parents after more than four dozen teachers called in sick to work Tuesday.
Approximately 55 teachers from Dominguez High School, 15301 S. San Jose Ave., in Compton, did not show up to work. The school scrambled to find substitute teachers, with some students calling their parents to be picked up.
The Compton Education Association, the teachers’ union, said it did not know about or sanction the organized “sickout,” or a strike.
“All we know is that the teachers called in using the sub lines, stating that they were either sick or needed the day off for personal necessity, and we believe that that’s true,” Patrick Sullivan with the Compton Education Association said.
“It appears teachers may be dissatisfied with the lack of progress related to negotiations,” Compton Unified School District Superintendent Darin Brawley said in a statement. “Regardless of the reason for today’s event, students should never be used as pawns in conducting the business of the District. Our students’ success is our main priority here at Compton Unified School District and we intend to ensure there are no further disruptions.”
School officials said there were enough teachers to keep the campus open.
On campus, Dominguez High students rallied in support of the teachers.
“They should get the money that they deserve, because they’re working so hard,” student Destinee Davis said. “But then again, they also have to understand what they’re doing to the students is wrong, too.”
Teachers are asking for a pay raise and health benefits. They are also reportedly outraged that the superintendent received a $12,000 salary increase, when teacher pay hasn’t been increased in seven years.
The school district is calling Tuesday’s event a concerted work stoppage.
“Preliminary investigation has revealed that this is planned for several sites throughout the district on a rolling basis,” Brawley said at the meeting.
The superintendent told KCAL9’s Rachel Kim that if their investigation reveals that the incident was planned, it could lead to terminations.
The teacher’s union said they do not anticipate another “sickout” at Dominguez High, or any other school in the district.
“The only people that are affected are our children,” parent Diana Padilla said. “That just has to stop.”