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Crucial court hearing for protesting DPS teachers today

via Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools is suing many of its own teachers over repeated sickout protests, and there’s an important court hearing in that fight Monday.

DPS maintains these repeated sickouts, which teachers have sporadically held to highlight serious problems in the district, amount to illegal strikes.

DPS officials are asking a Michigan Court of Claims judge to issue a preliminary injunction and order the teachers back to work.

Judge Cynthia Stephens denied the district’s request for a temporary restraining order last week.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers is also named as a defendant in the suit.

In a statement, DFT Interim President Ivy Bailey said: “It is regrettable that the Detroit Public Schools seeks to punish those who speak out about the deplorable conditions in our schools.”

Bailey added that if DPS emergency manager Darnell Earley “wants to come after teachers, we’re ready for a fight.”

But the union didn’t organize the sickouts.

They were largely organized by informal groups of teachers in various schools — who may or may not feel compelled to obey a court-ordered injunction.

The DFT will hold a rally for what it’s calling the “Detroit 23” (the number of individual teachers named in the suit) outside the Michigan Court of Appeals prior to the hearing this morning.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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