TACOMA, Wash. -- Tacoma classrooms were closed Thursday on what was supposed to be the first day of school due to a teacher strike.
Teachers picketed for hours throughout the day. They say the wages they're being provided aren’t livable.
“I’m really hoping the district prioritizes the work we’re doing and how valuable every educator is here,” said Debbie Shapiro, a teacher at Tacoma School of the Arts.
Shapiro says she feels the support from her community.
“I stand with the teachers,” said Brynee Murphy, the parent of four Tacoma students. She says she had Thursday, the first day of classes, marked down on her calendar for a while.
“I was so ready for school to start; five kids at home, we have a baby, ranging from one year all the way to 15, I need a break,” said Murphy.
The strike put a stop to Murphy’s plans, but her kids were still in school Thursday. Murphy took her two sons to McCarver Elementary to take part in the free food program.
“It’s their school time, they’re very anxious to see their teachers and principals and they miss school,” said Murphy.
Until the strike is over, Tacoma schools will offer free breakfast and lunch to all district students at 12 different schools.
Breakfast is served from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
At McCarver Elementary, cafeteria seats were filled with students just like a normal school day.
Being in the cafeteria is also a normal setting for Murphy.
She works food services at a different Tacoma school, but until the strike is over, she says there is no work for her.
“I’ve been stressing for a week now, a week and a half now, because I’m out of a job, I’m out of pay,” said Murphy.
Murphy supports her teachers. She says they deserve to be recognized, but she hopes her kids are back in school soon for many reasons.
Classes are canceled Friday due to the strike.
Tacoma school officials say 58% of the student population receive free and reduced lunch.
School will be canceled Friday due to the strike.
Here is a list of all the schools that will be providing free lunch for all Tacoma students during the strike, as well as some other districts that are offering meals:
Truman Middle School
The old Hunt Middle School site (temporary Grant site)
Jason Lee Middle School
Gray Middle School
Giaudrone Middle School
Baker Middle School
Stewart Middle School
First Creek Middle School
McCarver Elementary School
Franklin Elementary School
Tacoma Elementary School
Lunch will be served to all children ages 1 to 18 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Kiwanis Park, 422 SW 2nd Ave. in Battle Ground.
Free lunch for anyone 18 years or younger will continue if schools are closed. School principals and school board members are helping to distribute meals and supervise children. The meals will be served from 12 – 12:30 p.m., at Monticello Middle School.
The district will be offering free sack lunches to any child age 18 or younger from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. at both Cooks Hill Community Church and the covered picnic area at Borst Park. Lunches will be available on a first come, first served basis.