Letters sent say it’s illegal and violates their contract, but plenty of teachers are fed-up and still plan to participate in an organized “sickout.” That’s what one teacher told WUSA 9 on camera Sunday.
That teacher is Arun Puracken. When WUSA 9 asked him what he’s planning on doing come Monday, Puracken said, “I’ll call tomorrow if I feel sick.”
When asked how many teachers will do so in protest, Puracken responded, “I’m not sure. I think if people are feeling sick tomorrow, they’re going to call out.”
Why do so if there’s questions about contract violations?
“When people feel backed up against the wall. Right? Like they have nowhere else to turn, they’re going to do whatever they have to do,” said Puracken.
Puracken says he’s a 7th and 8th grade Prince George’s County teacher at Accokeek Academy and active union member who says he could make more money teaching in D.C. or Montgomery County.
When asked why he does not do so then, Puracken said, “Because I love Prince George’s County and I don’t want to leave.”
He added, “And they’re good things happening at the Prince George’s County Public Schools, but at the core, we talk about compensation, and you are purposefully not paying me what I should be getting paid and when you can, it’s a slap in the face.”
You could hear it in his voice, Puracken one of the many educators angry over the news that broke last week, saying multiple Human Resource employees had received up to 12% pay increases in secret, while a proposal to give teachers raises failed.
We’re told that several teachers plan to call-out sick and attend a “Fix the Fund” rally in Annapolis.
However, that’s not all. Their union, the Prince George’s County Educators Association, has called for a protest under something called “Work to Rule.”
It’s where teachers go in together at their start time and leave together after. This means they won’t stay for extra activities they may not be paid for, like monitoring buses or tutoring.
“Teachers, they do so much more than what is what’s on their negotiating agreements,” said Puracken. PGCEA plans to keep the “Work to Rule” in place for about two weeks – until the start of Spring Break.