DORI MONSON

Dori: Why are teachers in Seattle, Kent, Bellevue taking Friday off?

Nov 11, 2021, 10:10 AM | Updated: 10:11 am
teachers...
A classroom is empty with the lights off. (File photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
(File photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

This is very unusual: People are upset with me!

It started Tuesday, when Seattle Public Schools announced that Nov. 12 — the day after Veteran’s Day –schools would be closed because they don’t have enough substitute teachers to cover for all the educators who planned to take the day off for a four-day weekend.

At least 600 SPS educators don’t plan to work on Friday.

With three days’ notice, parents who work and have to arrange childcare are left scrambling.

But it grows.

Now, Bellevue and Kent school districts say they, too, will be closed on Friday. Educators throughout all three districts say they don’t have the staffing for Nov. 12. Not enough substitute teachers, they all say.

Seattle, Bellevue, Kent school districts cancel classes Friday due to staff shortages

What? They couldn’t wait another two weeks until Thanksgiving week’s four-day break?

Let me get this straight: At the end of November, most school district employees get four days off for Thanksgiving. Then, in late December, they get 16 days off for winter break. In January, all of these districts will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday holiday – and then many around the state will get one day off between the first and second semesters.

But wait until February, when many school district employees gets nine days off for mid-winter break – and then hold out until April when they get another nine days off for spring break. Summer is a few weeks away, when 75 days of break start rolling in.

Educators: I know firsthand the number of leave requests is indicative of the (Seattle schools language, not mine) “fatigue our staff and students our students are experiencing.” The district says the days off “offer physical, mental and emotional restoration.” You don’t think this has been tough on anybody else?

But it gets a bit more unreal, too. The Bellevue School District says its Friday school cancellation is not just due to “staffing shortages” and “COVID-19 restrictions,” but “anticipated inclement weather.”

What? Inclement weather? Let me check my weather app: “Friday, Bellevue: High of 57; low of 46. 60 percent chance of rain.”

Oh my goodness, close the schools! There’s a 60% chance of rain. Bellevue, close the schools on Monday! Close the schools — it’s going to rain!

But like I said, not everyone agreed with me. Just read the comments from the KIRO 97.3 text line:

From the 425: “You’re becoming hard to listen to due to your constant I know you’re the bigliest listened-to show in the United States, but your words don’t ring of truth.”

From the 206: “60% chance of rain. I’m not going to work!”

From the 206: “Dori, the teachers seem to have forgotten how to work a semi full-time job. Out of practice from ‘Zoom teaching’ over a year.”

From the 253: “As a cop in a department where the staffing is bottoming out and we’re having to cover shifts, can I get that sweet teacher schedule?!”

From the 425: “You’re clearly out of touch. Your stupid rant is not helpful.”

From the 206: “I worked in the Japanese school system for 7 years, and I’ll tell you something — teachers would NEVER take these days off. The mentality is, how can I take the time off when my coworkers will be there, working to cover for me. It’s a responsibility to coworkers and everyone else at school. I bet these teachers taking the time off are also the same teachers who say if you don’t get the vaccine, you’re selfish.”

From the 609: “These teachers get all those days off and I work 60+ hours a week driving a dump truck. I can’t call out. I can’t call in sick. Who’s going to do my job? Who’s going to pay my bills? These teachers nowadays are a joke.”

From the 206: “How could they be exhausted they just started work in September? October, November = 2 1/2 months.”

From the 253 : “This is just incompetent school administration. What if all the police and fire fighters, grocery clerks all wanted the day off? Why doesn’t Inslee just declare a state holiday? No business would be allowed to run this way and succeed.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
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Dori: Why are teachers in Seattle, Kent, Bellevue taking Friday off?