Superintendent and MEA President emotional as strike begins

, Posted: Thu, February 6 2014 at 2:43 PM, Updated: Fri, February 7 2014 at 4:26 PM

Medford, Ore. -- This is an emotional day for both teachers and administrators. As bargaining members left the district offices in the early morning hours the situation brought both parties to tears.

"We will be back! Howard kids, every student in this district, your regular teacher will be back. And we will greet you with hugs and smiles that you can get from no one else," says Medford Education Association President Cheryl Lashley who is a teacher.

"We really care about our teachers. We'd like them back," says Medford School District Superintendent Phil Long.

Both sides visibly shaken were just after 6 Thursday morning when the announcement was made. "We couldn't get it done by 6 o'clock," Long told us. Meaning Medford teachers were officially on strike. With that, picketers poured in.

Everyone at Central High School from the Superintendent, to teachers, to even student alumni who joined the protest, are calling the situation disheartening.

"I think it's ridiculous that they're not even negotiating," says South Medford High School alumni Cassie Pollock, "I mean they're going to eventually, they can't just not."

For now, a compromise remains seemingly out of reach. Emotions running high as picketing teachers pound the pavement completely surrounding Central High School, where the district offices are located. They say they're unwilling to give another inch.

"And our folks aren't willing to give more. Are you willing to give more?" Lashley asks surrounding teachers.

Teachers respond, "No!"

"The answer is no!" says Lashley.

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