Why Sports Are Suspended During Scranton Teachers Strike

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SCRANTON -- What is unusual about the teachers strike in Scranton is that it's not only canceling class, the strike is cancelling sports, too.

In other districts where teachers are walking the picket lines, events like high school football games are still allowed to continue.

So why is it different with Scranton?

The teachers union for the Scranton School District made the call.

The teachers union president says it's simple: it's the way their union operates. A work stoppage is a work stoppage and that includes those teachers who also coach sports.

Last Friday, the stands at Memorial Stadium in Scranton were filled, but that likely won't be the case this week.

"When the union goes out, we go out. We are an AFL/CIO union and we don't cross the line. We shut down. A work stoppage is a work stoppage. We are all in the same union. We are all out on strike," said teachers union president Rosemary Boland.

According to Boland, a work stoppage means everything stops, including extracurricular activities. It's a decision made by the union and the way its policy works.

"The most important thing for the students in the city of Scranton is for them to get back into their classrooms and do what they are supposed to do," Boland said.

Suspending sports and extracurricular activities is not a policy many districts have when teachers go on strike.

At Old Forge for example, teachers are on the picket line but student athletes are on the field.

"What they do is they say it's a separate contract from the teachers contract so they are obligated by that contract to go forward and fulfill that contract--may it be coaching, may it be extra activities. And I know that's how Old Forge handles it," said Paul Shemansky with Pennsylvania State Education Association.

The teachers union says no negotiations have been set yet and the strike could last up to three weeks. The Scranton School District teams will have to forfeit games while the strike continues.

3 comments

  • rnasca

    What’s really going on here is that the teachers well know that without sports there will soon be an outcry from the parents which will put pressure on the school district to settle quickly.

    • Davis Sellers

      The teachers got smart. The only way to move people around here is to stop sports. It would be a sin if Johnny can’t play a game on Friday night, but missing days or weeks of academic instruction is fine.

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