ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Hazelwood School District is suspending students who walked out of school to support their union teachers.
Related Story: Hazelwood Teachers Vote to Accept New Contract
Dozens of students at Hazelwood West High School students left class for more than an hour Monday to protest the district’s refusal to renegotiate a contract with union teachers. Union President Diane Livingston says the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
“A couple of years ago each of the high schools, all three of them, had a walk out,” Livingston says. “And I don’t remember much discipline, if any, was handed out then. In fact, one of the walk outs the Superintendent was walking with the kids.”
Students were told they’d be suspended for five days for disrupting school and causing traffic problems.
“It’s an emotional time, but to punish kids for having a voice and they did nothing wrong…there was no disruption,” Livingston says.
The union is met Tuesday and voted to accept the new one-year contract – 374 teachers voted yes, but under protest.
Livingston calls the district’s actions to this point “union busting.”