EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. -- A strike by teachers has students out of class in the East Stroudsburg Area School District in Monroe County.
With signs in hand, hundreds of East Stroudsburg Area High School teachers walked the picket line outside East Stroudsburg Area High School South on Monday.
"It's really emotional to speak about how difficult it is for all of us. I mean, this is what we do for a living is to teach our students and make a difference in their lives," said teachers union president Ann Catrillo.
This is the first teacher strike in the history of the district.
Educators have been working without a new contract for two years and rejected the school board's final offer last week.
A board member said then that the best and last offer had an increase of more than $1.5 million.
Students who walked the picket line say they want their teachers to get what they deserve.
"They need to do this. They feel like they need to do this, and you know what, I support them 100 percent," said senior Christina Modugno.
When teachers aren't on the picket line, they will be volunteering their time at different organizations throughout the community.
"Since we are not using our hours in the classroom with the children and being with their families, we thought we can give back here," said third grade teacher Jackie Visser.
Some teachers were on hand at East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church getting the place ready for the church dinner.
Teachers will volunteer at other food pantries and shelters daily until the strike is over.
"I have been here over 20 years, and we have never been to this point, and it is very disheartening when you put your time in and build connections, and we are just trying to do what is right by the kids in the classroom," said Visser.
Officials have not said how long the strike could last or when the next negotiation meeting will take place.