by: Sarah Rosario Updated:
IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. - Monday, teachers across North Carolina took part in an effort to raise awareness for challenges they face in the classroom.
Teachers called it a "walk-in" and mainly focused on their salaries.
In Iredell County, teachers encouraged community members to come out in support, as well.
Eyewitness News was there Monday morning when teachers, parents and students gathered outside of East Iredell Middle School.
They joined teachers across the state in protesting budget cuts passed this legislative session.
Eyewitness news has covered several teacher protests about recent legislation passed and rallies against it. Many teacher feel it’s what is causing a mass exodus of highly qualified teachers.
But instead of walking out of the classroom or taking a sick day, teachers in Iredell decided to "walk in" to show students nothing is worth sacrificing their education.
"Why walk out on them, rather than they see us united as a front walking in?" said teacher Angie Charles
Charles said the teacher walk-in is an effort to hold state leaders accountable for their actions this past year.
They're protesting a number of things, to include cuts to education, teacher tenure, and no raises or incentives to get master's degrees.
Supporters wore red shirts to symbolize their unity and support of the protest.
Teachers in Iredell were encouraged to see parents and students standing with them, too.
"They can't make ends meet, and so many teachers leave the profession and go find something else to do," said Kris Douglas, a mother of a student.
After the walk-in, administrators at East Iredell Middle gave parents a tour of the school to show them how teachers are working to do more with less.
The North Carolina Association of Teachers union said it did not endorse Monday's actions.
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham and Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake issued the following joint statement Wednesday after being contacted by concerned parents: "Schools have a duty to educate and protect our children, not serve as marching grounds for political protests orchestrated by unions. We are deeply disturbed the NCAE is encouraging teachers to turn their backs on their classrooms and leave their students in the care of strangers who may lack formal training and background checks. Things have reached a new low when a teachers' union is willing to abandon its core responsibility and jeopardize student safety for its own gain
Iredell Statesville Schools superintendent Brady Johnson says teachers in the county work hard to make sure students won’t feel the effects of the cuts.
"If we're serious about getting kids competitive in the future and making the world class students then we have to do something about that," said Brady Johnson, Iredell-Statesville Schools superintendent.