Occupy 549C protesters sit on steps outside Medford school offices

Prompted by a call from a Facebook site, labeled Occupy 549C, a small group of parents and community members gathered this morning on Medford School District property outside administrative offices to show support for local teachers.

Participants said there were as many as 60 people, but by 8:30 a.m. numbers had dwindled to fewer than 20, in addition to several striking teachers on the sidewalk in front of Central Medford High.

The Facebook site had said the protesters would occupy the district offices, but they encountered locked doors when they arrived and so settled instead for sitting on the building's steps.

"We had hoped to be in the building but we don't want to be a disservice to the students," said Danielle Groves, who drove from Corvallis this week to support her mother, who is a teacher at Griffin Creek Elementary.

"The doors are locked so there's not much we can do about it," she said.

Groves and her brother, a freshman at South Medford High School, were among those sitting on the steps outside the district offices.

Groves said she attended district schools from kindergarten through high school graduation and recognized many of her former teachers on the picket lines.

"They are having to do so much to prove that they are worth it," she said.

Dawn Greenwade, a parent of Wilson Elementary and North Medford students, said she had been picketing every day outside her children's schools. She said she had Fridays off and planned to be outside the district offices for the remainder of the day to show support to teachers.

"I will be out here every day until they figure something out," she said.

Her son, who attends Wilson, went to school one day since the strike began Feb. 6 because he missed his buddies and recess, she explained.

"It really makes you appreciate what it was before," she said.

Before the strike, Angel Ledezma, a fifth-grader at Jackson Elementary School, said his teacher was teaching him division and decimal fractions.

"Which I really find hard," he said.

Ledezma said he has been attending school during the strike, but his class includes a lot of review and coloring.

"We think we are going to fail our OAKS test," said his classmate, Cristian Cortes.

Ledezma and Cortes were both carrying signs as they walked back and forth in front of the district offices.

"It's not fair that people are doing this to kids who are in school and want to learn," Ledezma said.

— Teresa Thomas

See complete coverage of the Medford teachers' strike at www.mailtribune.com/medfordstrike.

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