The Detroit Public School system was denied their request for a temporary restraining order positioned to stop teachers from engaging in so-called “sick-outs” protests over the poor conditions at city schools. The Monday strike down of the injunction was the second time a judge has sided with the teachers in their fight to bring changes to the facilities.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Judge Cynthia Stephens of the Michigan Court of Claims will need more details regarding the matter and saw no evidence that the sick-outs are the handiwork of the Detroit Federation of Teachers union. The sick-outs have closed several schools in the city, leaving students and parents scrambling for answers.
Judge Stephens will oversee a hearing on Feb. 16, in which attorneys for the teachers and DPS are to present witnesses and submit their arguments in writing.
The Free Press reports:
DPS attorney George Butler had argued earlier that it is illegal for teachers to strike under the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act.
“We are not interested in a witch hunt,” Butler said.
Marshall Widick, the attorney representing the DFT and most of the individual teachers named in the suit, said that the teachers’ actions were protected. He called the injunction request an “overreach.”
“This lawsuit frankly raises the specter of First Amendment retaliation, ” he said.
The DPS lawsuit filed last week named 28 defendants comprised of teachers, activists and others. A reported 88 of 100 schools were closed due to sick-out protests last week.
Teachers who work for DPS have complained of rodent and vermin infestation, crumbling buildings, inadequate plumbing and host of other potentially hazardous concerns. Additionally, low wages and crowded classrooms also make up a portion of the teachers’ argument.
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty