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Identities of substitutes shielded from strikers, press

For substitute teachers at Howard Elementary School, the day began shortly before 6 a.m. when Principal Sallie Johnson arrived at their Central Point hotel to accompany them on the bus to the school.

Although the bus had tinted windows, Johnson handed everyone "physical personal protection devices" — white posters — to further shield their identities from the picketers as they entered the school.

Other buses transporting substitutes had brightly colored construction paper lining the windows.

An Oregon School Boards Association official working with the district told the substitutes they did not have to talk to a reporter or provide their name if they chose to talk on the record.

A substitute teacher from Amity said he would be teaching fifth grade for the first part of the day, and fourth grade for the second part.

"It's a job," he said, adding he has been subbing for three years. "I don't know what they're picketing about, but it doesn't really bother me."

A Hillsboro woman with six years of subbing experience said she accepted the position because of the money. She is teaching fifth grade for Oak Grove in the morning and for Howard in the afternoon, both at Howard.

She admitted she was a little "apprehensive," saying she was torn between feeling unwanted by picketers and wanting to help students.

About 15 union members were outside Howard when the bus arrived shortly after 6 a.m. Many of the teachers were singing "This Little Light of Mine" as the bus pulled into the school. Some teachers blocked the entrance to the parking lot for a few seconds before splitting so the bus could pass.

Security guards and Howard staff formed a kind of human shield for the substitutes as they exited the bus.

Students began to arrive about an hour later, and the substitutes' work officially began.