ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — Students in the Allegheny Valley School District walked out of school Wednesday in protest of what they call staffing issues.
It’s an issue we know other districts in western Pennsylvania are experiencing, but they say Wednesday was the worst, especially in a high school with a large number of students sent to the auditorium because they didn’t have substitutes to teach multiple classes.
Students at Springdale High School organized the walk-out the day before Thanksgiving break. About 60 to 70 students, some holding signs supporting teachers, claimed there is a teacher shortage and it’s affecting their school day.
Senior Kaitlyn Claus organized the walk-out.
“We had seven classes today that had teachers absent, and instead of having a sub to cover them all, they put them all in the
auditorium to be watched by the assistant principal,” Claus said. “We have the nurse covering classes. I have a medical issue; if I need the nurse, I need to know where she is, and if she’s covering classes, how am I supposed to find her?”
“Six out of seven of my classes I had a substitute today,” said student Jordan Dettlinger.
“Today was probably our worst day. I went down to the auditorium to see what was going on. I saw 50 kids and two teachers, and everyone was just on their phones,” said junior Brayden Layhew.
“My sister is in seventh grade. She has two free periods a day, sitting in a class being babysat,” said junior Madison Shock.
We reached out to Allegheny Valley district leaders, and they tell Channel 11 they had a few teachers leave at the beginning of the year, consistent with what other schools in western Pennsylvania are experiencing.
They currently only have one open position for a biology teacher, and they’re moving another teacher in-house to cover it, a move that they believe is upsetting for some of the kids.
“We are doing this for our teachers as well. It’s unfair to them. They are wasting their lunch, their planning period. The nurse doesn’t know how to teach a class; she’s being told what she needs to do. It’s unfair to them,” Shock said.
The district tells us no teaching positions have been cut, but that there were a number of teachers out Wednesday, and substitute teachers are scarce throughout the state. When subs aren’t available, other staff members will fill in.
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