Parents, kids pledge support for teachers marching in Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Both the North Carolina House and Senate are set to gavel in at noon Wednesday for the start of the short session -- and they will be greeted by quite the welcome wagon: 15,000 teachers and at least some of the 1 million public school students who get the day off will be at the Raleigh rally as well.

That includes Michelle Craig and her 8-year-old son Jesse from Cary. They are old veterans of North Carolina's wars over education funding.

They've rallied at the legislature twice in the past to restore state dollars for art and music teachers. And they will be back downtown first thing Wednesday morning.

Jesse is a second-grader at Briar Cliff Elementary where his mom teaches kindergarten. Earlier this month he wrote and emailed a letter to Wake school board members -- pleading for them to close schools so he and his mother could rally with teachers.

"This year in second grade, they're teaching opinion writing -- so he said, 'I know how to write this,'" Michelle said.

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The next day, Wake canceled classes, allowing the Craigs to be a part of the expected 15,000 others marching through Raleigh demanding better teacher pay and school resources.

"And it's emotional thinking that we're having tens of thousands of people to show up tomorrow," Michelle said. "And that many people care that much about my kid and everybody else's kid."

Meantime, more parents are showing their support. In Durham, five moms and 13 children gathered for a poster-making party.

Raelle River Daugird, a student at Creekside Elementary, drew her poster misspelling the word "senate" -- writing, "This is why we need teachers."

Back in Cary, the Craigs were gearing up for the latest battle.

Michelle lamented what she said she believes is a Republican-led legislature prioritizing charter school funding over traditional public schools.

We asked if they were growing tired of all the protesting.

"Yeah, we're still fighting for the same thing over and over again," she said. "So yeah, we're tired of it, but not tired enough to stop."

The state's top Republican, Sen. Phil Berger, pledged to listen to the teachers concerns as lawmakers would any constituent.

But Berger has also likened Wednesday's rally to a union strike, which he reminded everyone is illegal in North Carolina.
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