House Bill 2214 could prevent teachers from participation in walkouts

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A bill recently filed by an Oklahoma lawmaker is working to make a change in how teachers can protest.

House Bill 2214 would prohibit teachers from participating in walkouts. The bill would make it so teachers licenses would be revoked in Oklahoma if they participated in one.

Just last year thousands of teachers in the state of Oklahoma held a walkout asking for more money in the classroom as well as pay raises. And now many believe legislation proposed in House Bill 2214 to end teacher walkouts is in retaliation to what happened.

“They haven’t walked in our shoes as educators, they don’t know what it’s like in the classroom, they don’t know the resources we have to teach with, they don’t understand the technology and things to go and how much everything changes every year,” says Amy Fritchey, third grade teacher at Wyandotte Elementary.

Representative Todd Russ filed the bill. He says one of the main reasons walkouts shouldn’t take place, is due to the disruption it has in the classroom.

Russ released a statement saying, “my fault is with the unions who knew it was illegal under state law to strike, so they called last year’s action a walk out. House Bill 2214 includes “shutdown or related activities” and raises the penalty for the union.” But teachers aren’t giving up for the future.

“I’m hopefully because I feel like it brings attention to what we were already bringing attention to that something needs to be done and I feel like its continuing the momentum,” says Drenna Robertson, Wyandotte School Teacher.

Russ also said his decision to file a bill compares to other professions who prohibit strikes.

Much like air traffic control operators and other Union groups that are not allowed to strike based on the safety or wellbeing of third parties. Fritchey adds the OEA is working to get out the word out of this legislation that has been proposed. They are doing this with various OEA chapters in the state, so they can educate other adults who can vote and talk to legislators about how they perceive the bill.

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