On Policy Watch Wednesday, we wrote about pending background check legislation that some worry will impact teachers’ ability to participate in acts of civil disobedience. It comes after 14 education demonstrators were arrested outside of the state capitol last week, following a pro-public education rally on the steps of the legislative building.
This week, following in the footsteps of Anca Stefan, a Durham social studies teacher who penned a now-viral essay on her arrest experience, multiple demonstrators arrested are explaining their decision to block off a downtown Raleigh street on June 15 to protest the education policies of Gov. Pat McCrory and the state legislature.
Durham teacher, Amy Swain, was one of those booked. In a heavily-shared social media post Wednesday, Swain included her mug shot and criticized lawmakers for failing to support schools like hers.
From that post:
Our state continues to divest in public education and drive money into vouchers and charter school corporations and has the gall to call that opportunity. But it’s only opportunity for some – and not all of our students. Vouchers and charter schools largely account for the re-segregation of American education, with white kids being securely funneled into fully-funded “new” schools while black and brown and poor kids remain in public schools with vanishing resources. Our state commits these injustices on public dollar – at the public’s expense.
Swain was just one of several educators affiliated with a group calling itself Organize 2020 who took the opportunity to lash out at the legislature and McCrory following their arrests. Durham teacher Dawn Wilson, another of those arrested, also skewered GOP leaders in the state in a social media post Tuesday.
From Wilson’s post:
I was willing to be arrested. My son and all the others sons and daughters that our schools serve every day, deserve to have easily (accessible) and the best possible up to date resources. Our students deserve to have educators at every level to meet their needs at their level. Our students deserve to feel safe when they walk through the school doors and not worry about being deported or arrested. Our students need to know that they are free to express themselves and be themselves and not have a law define them or segregate them. A law that violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Wake County teacher Jessica Benton also documented her arrest last week.
From Benton’s essay:
When the police officer leaned over me to tell me he was arresting me, I told myself to look proud. As they lifted me to my feet, I told myself to stand tall and look forward. I was not ashamed of this walk or the zip ties around my wrists. I had committed myself to protecting kids when I became a teacher 11 years ago. I had sworn an oath. And if this is what it was going to take to show people just how dire our situation is in our public schools, I had to do it. I owed that much to my students.