Parents: Three Steps to Take to Minimize the Impact of the Columbus City Schools Labor Strike on Your Children
On Sunday, August 21, 2022, the members of the Columbus Education Association (“CEA”) voted overwhelmingly to go on strike, the first in the district since 1975. Classes are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 24. The Columbus City Schools Board of Education (“BOE”) has adopted an Alternative Opening Plan should the strike continue through the first day of school.
Here are three important steps to take to minimize the impact to your child:
- Send Them to School, Even if it’s Online. The Columbus City Schools BOE has adopted an online learning plan using substitute teachers should the strike continue. Regardless of how you feel about the strike, you should review the Asynchronous Learning Plan in advance. Be sure to look up the schedule and assignments and prepare your child(ren) to attend and complete those assignments when school starts on August 24. Importantly, sending your children to school does not indicate support for either the BOE or the union. Sending your children to school is also not considered “crossing the picket line,” a term that historically applies to employees reporting to work while their fellow union members are on strike.
- Make it a Teachable Moment. Everyone retains information better when we experience it. While the strike is an unfortunate reality, you can also use it as an opportunity to explain the nature of the debate, as well as the history of labor strikes in the U.S. This is made much easier with YouTube videos like “The Labor Movement in the United States” and “A Brief History of Labor Unions,” among dozens of other online resources just for students.
- Document Missing Services, Especially for Students with Disabilities. If your child receives specialized supports or services through an IEP or 504 Plan, you should record, in detail, exactly what accommodations, supports and services were not provided. The BOE’s obligation to provide an appropriate education to students with disabilities does not go away during a strike or because the curriculum is being delivered online. The BOE should provide access to live substitute therapists, private therapists and/or alternative placements for students who cannot learn or receive services online. Recording this information will help you recover any missed services later, which can be accomplished through an IEP meeting, mediation or by filing a written or due process complaint with the Ohio Department of Education.
Authored by Mark Weiker, Esq. at Albeit Weiker, LLP
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