Students frustrated by potential Dayton schools strike

Dunbar senior Ragina Drake calls for more respect for Dayton teachers on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2017, saying a teacher strike would have a negative impact on Dayton students’ education. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF
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Dunbar senior Ragina Drake calls for more respect for Dayton teachers on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2017, saying a teacher strike would have a negative impact on Dayton students’ education. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

A group of Dayton Public Schools students and their parents held a press conference outside district headquarters Thursday, urging DPS and teachers to avoid a strike.

Ragina Drake, a senior-to-be at Dunbar Early College High School, called the potential strike “ridiculous” because of the impact it would have on students.

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“If they come into the school year with subs, (students) are going to feel like school is a joke,” Drake said. “They’re going to feel like they can just come to high school and play around and not learn.”

The event was organized by a “concerned parents group,” which met Tuesday night to talk about advocacy for students. The group plans a letter-writing and phone-calling campaign on Thursday.

RELATED: Strike or not, Dayton schools will open Aug. 15

Some of the students who spoke Wednesday were related to teachers or former teachers, and spoke highly of their past experiences with teachers in the Dayton district.

Sophia Jenista, who will be a sixth-grader at Horace Mann this year, said the idea of starting the year without her regular teachers makes her mad.

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“If we have subs, all the kids will go crazy, and kids going crazy is not the way to start a school year,” she said.

The district and teachers union will resume mediation Thursday and have two other sessions scheduled before an Aug. 11 strike date set by the union.

Classes are to start Aug. 15. The district has said schools will open whether teachers reach a deal or are on strike.

Superintendent Rhonda Corr has said she believes a deal can be reached but said district officials must be responsible with taxpayer money.