By Charles Creitz | Fox News
Prominent teachers union leader suggested locations that insist on in-person learning could see ‘safety strike’.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday that “parents and children can’t be held captive to other fears or agendas” in response to suggestions that teachers in some states could go on strike over the Trump administration’s push to reopen schools this fall.
“We have got to get to a point in this country where we are supporting our families and our focus [is] on doing what is right for students,” DeVos told “Bill Hemmer Reports.”
In an interview published Wednesday, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten told Politico that states with high numbers of positive coronavirus tests or high levels of community spread could see so-called “safety strikes” if lawmakers insist on in-person instruction.
“You can’t say, at the end, ‘Okay, I just give up.’ You have to actually be true to your convictions,” Weingarten told the outlet. “And if that means a safety strike as a last resort, that’s what it means. If you believe that the safety and health of people are really sacrosanct, then you’ve got to be able to sacrifice for it.”
DeVos told host Bill Hemmer that school boards across the country are already implementing precautions to provide for the safety and well-being of both students and staff.
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“Education is about a child and their future,” she said. “And we as adults have got to do the things necessary to step in and be that support to the children that we are charged with.
“And we know that it can be done safely, and for those teachers who may have vulnerabilities themselves, there are other things that can be done so that they can continue to contribute in a major way.”
The coronavirus pandemic isn’t the only issue for some educators. Earlier this month, the Los Angeles teachers union released a research paper detailing the steps needed for schools to reopen safely.
“Police violence is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue,” the union’s research paper said. “We must shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health.”
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.