San Francisco school officials put out an all-hands-on-deck S.O.S. for substitute teachers Wednesday as more than 600 educators took off the day before Thanksgiving.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 432 teachers from the San Francisco Unified School District skipped school on Turkey Day Eve—either calling in sick or taking personal days—amounting to more than 11 percent of the district’s staff. Additionally, 179 special education and preschool aides were not at work. The Chronicle reports that 10 percent of teachers were absent Monday, as well.
“It does create a sense of frustration when we have these kinds of numbers that happen for no apparent discernible reason other than it’s a day before a holiday,” said San Francisco Superintendent Richard Carranza, via The San Francisco Chronicle. “Yeah, it’s a little disappointing.”
San Francisco Schools called in all available subs but still fell short of their needs by dozens of teachers, resulting in more than 100 office personnel with teaching certificates manning a classroom for the day. Apparently San Francisco is the exception to the rule as no other districts reported a shortage of available teachers.
“It is a tricky dilemma to balance the rights of employees to have personal days and sick days and the need to provide quality education to children every day of our already short school year,” said Christopher Rosenberg, principal of John Muir Elementary in the San Francisco USD. “I would love for the district and union to come up with a really good long-term systemic solution.”
“A lot of us are taking off the day before Thanksgiving and two days before Thanksgiving so we can get on the road early, be with our families, be safe while we’re going to our holiday travel, so it doesn’t bother me that teachers are taking off,” said Michelle Parker of the 2nd District PTA, via CBS Local’s San Francisco site. “They have a right just like anybody else.”
The incident may cause the San Francisco district to consider shutting down for the entire week of Thanksgiving. Other school districts around the country have opted to close in order to avoid similar confusion and shortages. According to CBS Local, they are considering doing just that.
What do you think of the school situation in San Francisco? Should San Francisco close for the entire week of Thanksgiving?