Community backs teachers on strike

The Associated Press
Wednesday June 06, 2001

FAIRFIELD — Parents rallied outside the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District office Tuesday afternoon to show their support for the teachers who are striking for higher wages. 

Organizers estimate that more than 1,000 people covered five blocks on either side of Pennsylvania Avenue which runs past the district’s office. But district spokeswoman Kathy Miller said no more than a “couple hundred” protesters were at the 1 p.m. rally. 

Nearly 96 percent of the district’s teachers continued to strike Tuesday, and less than half the district’s students attended classes. 

The strike began Friday afternoon, and no negotiations have been scheduled. 

Earlier Tuesday, as teachers picketed for an 11.7 percent raise outside district schools, the district held a news briefing, condemning what district spokesman Tom DeLapp called “aggressive” behavior exhibited by picketing teachers. Organizers have denied the claims. 

The district alleged picketers keyed and spit at cars and photographed substitute teachers and their car license plates with the implied threat of retaliation. The picketers are also accused of encouraging students not to attend class and to disrupt normal school activities. 

Teacher’s association president Liz Priest called the allegations “blatant lies.” 

DeLapp said the district had about 500 substitutes in place Tuesday. About 10,000 of the district’s 22,000 students attended classes.