Update, Oct. 16, 1:15 p.m.:
Kent County Superior Court Judge Susan McGuirl imposed a restraining order on the Warwick Teachers Union this afternoon, which bars union members from participating in coordinated “sick outs,” NBC10 reports. McGuirl scheduled a hearing for Oct. 27, unless the WTU and school department agree to a new contract.
Update, Oct. 16, 9:45 a.m.:
Supt. Philip Thornton’s office released the numbers of teachers who called out sick at three more local schools, leading to cancelled classes on Monday.
At least 50 percent of each school’s teaching staff notified the district that they would be absent:
Oakland Beach: 29 of 40 teachers
Park Elementary: 17 of 33 teachers
Robertson Elementary: 21 of 35 teachers
Mayor Scott Avedisian released a statement saying that he “remains hopeful that a mediation session planned for Wednesday will assist in moving both parties closer to resolution.”
Avedisian also announced that long-term substitutes from the three schools were assigned to Greenwood Elementary to avoid a shut-down there.
Thornton announced on Monday that the school district will go to Kent County Superior Court to seek a judge’s order against further such actions by teachers.
Update, Oct. 16, 7:38 a.m.: Warwick Public Schools have also canceled Robertson and Park Elementary Schools this morning. The district reports the new school closures are also due to mass teacher absences.
Original post, Oct. 15, 11:15 p.m.
WARWICK, RI — The third in a series of en-masse teacher absences at individual Warwick Public Schools touched the Oakland Beach Elementary School Community at about 10 p.m. Sunday night as the district cancelled Monday classes.
“The number of faculty absences has risen to a level that we can not safely open this school. This decision was based on staff requirements, student needs, & programs in the building. Due to this, we made the decision to cancel school at Oakland Beach Elementary,” Superintendent Phil Thornton wrote in a message sent to parents Sunday night.
Thornton did not say how many teachers have called out. An email query Sunday night about the number of call-outs was not immediately answered.
“Given that this is the third teacher sick out within the last two weeks, the district will take steps to pursue recourse through the legal system in an effort to prevent future disruptions to the education of our students,”
Thornton also did not immediately respond to a request to elaborate on the legal action that the district may take, or against who.
WTU President Darlene Netcoh said Oct. 6 during the first mass teacher absence at Pilgrim High School that she had opposed discussion of a sickout during a union meeting. Since then, a second mass teacher absence canceled classes at Veterans Jr. High Oct. 11, followed by the latest at Oakland Beach.
Late night messages to Netcoh were not immediately answered.
WarwickPost.com will update this story as more information becomes available.