Durham school officials say classes will continue despite planned women's strike

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017
More schools respond to Day Without Women
Durham County Public Schools respond to Day Without Women protest

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Another school district in the Triangle is commenting on how Wednesday's planned national day of protest called "A Day Without Women," will impact the district.

The nationwide protest - scheduled for March 8, which has been deemed International Women's Day - has already prompted Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools to close its doors Wednesday.

The strike is meant to emphasize the role of women in national life.

"A Day Without a Woman (recognizes) the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system--while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity," stated event organizers on their website.

District officials canceled classes ahead of the planned rally because principals and other supervisors have said they expect a high rate of staff absences.

RELATED: Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools cancel school Wednesday ahead of planned women's strike

However, Durham school officials are telling staff that classes will continue as scheduled.

A statement from Durham Superintendent Bert L'Homme said, in part: "We need our students in the classroom, engaged in learning, on Wednesday."

"Just as many of our low-income families have difficulty finding child care during an inclement weather day, having an unscheduled teacher workday on Wednesday would create an additional hardship and safety concern for our out-of-school students and their families," L'Homme said in his statement. "In addition, many of our lower-income employees such as bus drivers and child nutrition staff would lose a day of pay if we were closed to students."

The superintendent added he'll wear red Wednesday - the color rally organizers say shows solidarity with the Day Without Women protest.

L'Homme said he's encouraging DPS staff to wear red as well.

He called it "an important teachable moment for our students."

"There are things you can do as teachers and staff, by instruction and example, to demonstrate to our students the value of women and the importance of fairness and social justice," L'Homme said.

Organizers of the protest hope to stress the contributions women make in daily life, both paid and unpaid. A similar demonstration called "A Day Without Immigrants" took place in February.

READ MORE: Day Without Immigrants protests in Triangle, across US

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