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Snyder joins officials calling for an end to teacher “sickouts”

Jake Neher

Gov. Rick Snyder is adding his voice to those calling for an end to teacher “sickout” protests in the state’s largest school district.

Dozens of Detroit public school buildings have closed this week with teachers staying home, and several more have been forced to close in recent weeks.

Snyder hopes teachers will find other ways to protest state control of Michigan’s largest district, health and safety issues in classrooms, and other problems. He says there are other avenues to call attention to those issues that don’t hurt students.

But he says the state could take action to put a stop to the protests if that doesn’t happen.

“If it continues, I’m sure you’ll see action at some point. But the goal is hopefully they’ll stop that and find other mechanisms and ways to communicate what issues they may have and not do it at the expense of children,” Snyder told reporters Tuesday after touring the floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Some Republican state lawmakers are developing legislation that would clearly define sickouts as strikes – which are illegal under state law.

“And that could be a consequence of this continuing,” Snyder said of the possibility of legislation moving forward.

The bills could also include penalties for teachers, including stripping teacher certifications.

Snyder now joins state Superintendent Brian Whiston and a number of Republican state legislators in calling for an end to the sickouts.

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