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Via ABC News:
Thousands of public school teachers in Denver walked off their jobs on Monday and formed picket lines for the first time in 25 years to demand higher wages and stem the tide of educators they say are going to neighboring school districts to boost their pay.
Members of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association wearing “Red for Ed” T-shirts under or over bulky jackets kicked off their strike at 7 a.m. local time, forming picket lines around schools in the bone-chilling 21-degree weather and chanting, “If they won’t pay us, shut it down.”
“I’m anxious, scared, but I’m also angry and I think a lot of us are angry. We have had enough,” Laurel Davis, a second-grade teacher at Bill Roberts Elementary School, told ABC affiliate station KMGH-TV.
The teachers’ union broke off negotiations on Saturday after spending 15 months trying to come to an agreement with the Denver Public School District to significantly increase teachers’ salaries to compete with surrounding school districts.
There are about 5,600 teachers who work at the district’s 160 schools. It was unclear how many signed in at picket lines.
Students at least one school, East High School, shared a video with the Denver Post showing students blasting music and chanting in the hallways before walking out of the school.
“Certainly at our high schools, we have students that are very engaged, very active in expressing their opinions,” Susana Cordova, superintendent of the Denver Public School District, said at a mid-morning news conference.
“There aren’t a lot of kids left in the building,” she said of the student walkout at East High School “Certainly, a lot of commotion started when students decided to walk out.”
She said the students will be marked absent unless they get permission from their parents to leave campuses.