WARWICK, RI — Classes at Warwick Veterans Jr. High School have been canceled today for elevated teacher absences – 59 – as a dispute over a long-expired contract between teachers and the Warwick School Committee after a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Philip Thornton and School Committee Chair Bethany Furtado was announced by the Warwick Teachers Union Tuesday.
“The number of faculty absences has risen to a level that we can not safely open the school. Due to this, we made the decision to cancel school at Vets,” Thornton wrote in a message to parents and teachers early Wednesday morning.
“The most important element of school is having the regular classroom teacher working with students each and every day. A teacher ‘sick-out’ like the one we experienced Friday and again today hurts students and does nothing to bring the two sides closer together to resolve the contract,” he said.
On Friday, more than 75 teachers called out absent from Pilgrim High School, forcing the district to cancel classes before the long Columbus Day weekend.