EXETER – While many students are enjoying a two-week break from school throughout Luzerne County, students at Wyoming Area said their holiday break was slashed after a teacher strike at the beginning of the school year.
Students and parents said the holiday break was limited to a half-day on Christmas Eve and the day off on Christmas.
School administrators said the students are expected to report for a half-day of class on New Year’s Eve, and they will have New Year’s Day off.
Mackenzie Davidson says there was not much holiday cheer in her seventh-grade classes, and many students have been skipping school or only reporting for half of the day.
“It was horrible because we got no time off. The only day we actually got off was Christmas Day,” said Davidson. "I didn`t go to school on Christmas Eve because it was ridiculous. So, yesterday there was absolutely no one there.”
Sophomore Dominique Denisco told Newswatch 16 that some teachers are playing movies or educational videos instead of holding traditional classes, and that attendance rules are stricter for student-athletes.
"There were probably a total of 30 kids in the school. They were all just the basketball players and cheerleaders who had to be in school. It was just kind of terrible,” said Denisco.
The high school principal told Newswatch 16 that the scheduling changes had to be made, because 23 school days were lost when unionized teachers went on strike in September.
Several parents said they were frustrated with the handling of the schedule, and said they wish teachers could strike around the holidays, instead of at the beginning and end of the school year.
"That would have been nice, because it was their choice to strike,” said Laura Sarnak. “I feel that our kids have to pay the price for it.”
School administrators said an arbitrator is expected to meet with both sides next month, and if an agreement on salaries is not reached, teachers could choose to strike again in the spring.