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Judge denies injunction against Detroit teachers participating in sickouts

Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio

A judge has denied the Detroit Public Schools’ efforts to stop teacher sickouts.

The district says those sickouts amount to illegal strikes.

But Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens again declined to issue a restraining order today.

Stephens said the district needs to prove the sickouts are strikes. She also questioned whether the Court of Claims is the proper venue for the case.

But many DPS teachers say they have no other way to force action as the district spirals into decay and insolvency.

Sarah Jardine says teachers should have acted sooner.

“We let this get too far," Jardine said. "This is absolutely despicable, the conditions that are there. And truthfully, we are culpable in that."

At Monday's hearing, the court dropped charges against Jardine and 20 other individual teachers. The Detroit Federation of Teachers, DFT interim President Ivy Bailey, and former DFT President Steve Conn remain as defendants.

Jardine and others have called the lawsuit a "witch hunt" against teachers who have spoken about the problems plaguing the district.

But DPS emergency manager Darnell Earley said the sickouts hurt kids the most. "The bottom line is, we need teachers in the classroom teaching our kids," he after the hearing, before ducking away from angry protesters.

Stephens set another hearing in the case next month.

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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