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WNC teachers join thousands who descended on Raleigh

Several buses filled with educators from Western North Carolina departed the mountains around 4:30 Wednesday morning headed for the capital. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Thousands of teachers across the state descended upon Raleigh to march and rally for more resources.

Several buses filled with educators from Western North Carolina departed the mountains around 4:30 Wednesday morning headed for the capital.

Once they arrived, they joined an estimated 20,000 teachers from across the state braving heavy downpours at time.

“I wish the kids could be here today and see all their teachers supporting them and just wanting them to have the best life they could possibly have,” said Laura Martin, a teacher at Estes Elementary School.

“Who would have thought that quiet teachers in their classroom doing their job and suddenly they come together? A sea of red, this is what it looks like,” said Paula Dinga, president of the Buncome County Association of Educators.

That sea of red ended its march in front of the Legislative Building, where the educators spoke with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to be heard.

They’re calling for more counselors, more per pupil funding, more pay and more resources to do their jobs effectively.

“I think that this sort of show of support for public education and general funding overall is really critical, and it’s going to be a lot harder to make some of the decisions they’re looking to make with this kind of crowd out here. So, I’m very encouraged by it,” said Democratic State Representative Brian Turner.

Dinga also had a one-on-one meeting with State Senator Chuck Edwards.

“There are a lot of priorities in the state that we have to balance. Of course, looking at our kids and their future, that’s certainly a priority and will remain a priority,” Edwards said.

Once those meetings wrapped up, the remaining teachers gathered one more time to listen to a number of speakers in from across the state in what they called a Rally for Respect.

Gov. Roy Cooper also spoke.

“I am honored to stand with you North Carolina teachers! Stand with you each and every day,” he said as he wrapped up his remarks. “May God bless you, your students, and the great state of North Carolina.”

While Buncombe County Schools and Asheville City Schools canceled classes for the day because so many teachers requested off, many districts in the mountains did not.

The teachers who traveled to Raleigh said they’ll be back in the classroom tomorrow.

We caught up with one Asheville City Schools teacher before the day's events.


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