DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — With hundreds of teachers expected to call in sick Thursday to protest an alleged illegal school board meeting, the Douglas County School District has canceled classes.
The district announced the closure Wednesday afternoon, blaming it on “a large number of staff who have submitted absences” for Thursday.
“As a result, we have reached the point where the number of absences has impacted our ability to provide a safe and supervised learning environment for students,” the district said in a news release.
The Douglas Federation of Teachers union said more than 800 teachers put in substitute requests for Thursday, when teachers plan to rally in protest of a private meeting between some board members and the superintendent, during which they pushed for his resignation.
Douglas County Board of Education members who weren’t involved called the meeting illegal, accusing their fellow board members of breaking state law. In response, Board President Mike Peterson called the meeting a “conversation” and said, “There has been no action taken on the superintendent’s contract or employment status.”
The school district said after-school activities will take place as scheduled and schools will be open for staff and teachers who did not request an absence. Charter school families were advised to check with their schools.
Concerns with ‘ethics,’ ‘due process’
The Douglas County Federation of Teachers union will hold a rally at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Wilcox Building.
Union President Kevin Dipasquale said demonstrators have “concern for ethics with regards to the Sunshine Law and due process not being followed with the worry that some majority board members acted toward the acting superintendent Corey Wise.”
Board of Education President Mike Peterson said all talks about the position are taking place during public meetings as required by law.
Parent Brandi Bradley said she supports teachers, but disputes must be settled in a manner that does not disrupt learning.
“There are kids that need to be in school, my kids need to be in school. It’s not about babysitting, it’s about learning,” Bradley said.