Durham teachers protest state budget battle 100 days into school year

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Making noise and trying to make a change, some Durham students were welcomed to school by a sea of red.

"We're out here to get attention to the budget stalemate right now happening in the senate. They're trying to rob our students of the funding that we need to be successful," said Kelly Shearon, fifth grade teacher.

Teachers at Riverside High School, Hillside High School, Southwest Elementary School and Lakewood Elementary School all staged a protest Wednesday morning.

They say they've taught 100 days this school year without a budget from state lawmakers.

"I can't tell you the last time I haven't worked on a weekend to give my students the support that they need, and we just feel ignored," Shearon said.

In May, thousands of teachers protested in downtown Raleigh setting forth five demands: increased funding for school professionals, raises for support staff and teachers, expanding Medicaid, restoring health benefits for retired teachers and restoring compensation for advanced degrees. To date, teachers say little to no progress has been made on any of those demands.

"We want to fight for our students and our families. We're in this together. We're not going to be divided from them. Every single demand is really vital," said Anna Grant, community school coordinator.

And many parents and students are standing with the schools' teachers and staff as well.

"We're all one big family and we're all here for one thing and that's to look out for the better of our students because they're our future," said Courtney Hayes-Rainey, parent.

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