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MailTribune.com
  • 'It's Our Education'

    Eagle Point students stage walkout in support of teachers
  • A three-word sign summed up Jordan Pinkham's thoughts on the labor standoff between Eagle Point School District administrators and employees: "It's our education."
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  • A three-word sign summed up Jordan Pinkham's thoughts on the labor standoff between Eagle Point School District administrators and employees: "It's our education."
    Pinkham, a 17-year-old senior at the high school, joined a crowd of about 100 students, several of whom held similar signs in a public protest at about 12:40 p.m. Thursday.
    Students walked out of their classrooms, marched out of school and gathered at the intersection of Highway 62 and Linn Road near Walmart, waving signs and chanting "Eagle Power" while receiving a volley of honks from passing motorists.
    Their message was largely one of support for teachers and other school employees.
    "They respect the teachers," Pinkham said of the crowd. "They want their education to be at the level it should be at."
    Other written messages — some painted on bare skin — included "The teachers deserve RESPECT," and "We don't want 6 periods. We want all 7."
    The district and its employees' union bargained for 13 months before reaching an impasse in late March.
    Employees are concerned about teacher prep time and the possibility of subcontracting out transportation jobs, while administrators counter they have offered wage and benefit increases, but say meeting the union demands would require layoffs or elimination of class days.
    Union members voted to go out on strike beginning Tuesday, May 8, but another negotiation session is set for 1 p.m. Monday. School will not be open Monday, as the district prepares for the possibility of the strike.
    News about the student walk-out spread through word of mouth and a few mass-sent text messages. But students said this was not just a lark.
    "We're not here just to skip," said Chris Butler, 17-year-old junior.
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