Teacher Sick Out


Emma Taylor, Staff Writer

Kentucky House Bill 525 is a bill that could possibly restructure the board of trustees that oversees retirement plans for teachers. According to the rules, four out of seven elected members are supposed to be teachers or administrators. They are nominated by school employees who contribute to the pension system. The board also needs one teacher who has retired. If the bill is passed, all of these spots would be removed. This means teacher representation would be minimized when it comes to making decisions about teachers’ retirements.

In response to this, many teachers all throughout Kentucky called out sick to protest at the Capitol in Frankfort. As a result of so many teachers calling out sick, eight school districts had to cancel school on Thursday, February 28th. Among these were Kentucky’s two largest districts: Fayette County and Jefferson County.

According to Fayette County Public School’s Twitter, about 40% of school employees called out sick. This left the district without enough substitutes to cover all of the absences. Out of almost 5,500 employees in Fayette County, 2,200 called out sick so they could protest.

Many are concerned with teachers calling out sick. Most students don’t want to make up another day in May, or possibly even June. Calling out sick is also a concern for teachers. Using a sick day when you aren’t sick could possibly lead to them losing their job. Teachers are advised to use a personal day instead of calling out sick.

When asked for her opinion on the sickouts, Beaumont Middle School teacher Desha Bell said, “I am pro-education, therefore I support and encourage teachers sicking out which is the weakened form of collective bargaining left to them. Teachers are professionals; they deserve agency over their retirement, and bill 525 takes that from them.”

In total, the teachers’ sick out on February 28th, 2019 had an impact on 168,000 students.