PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The state schools chief has weighed in on whether teachers in Arizona should walk off their jobs on Thursday.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas says teachers should stay in their classrooms, and if they don't, they could face loss of their certifications, even their jobs.
The comments came as teachers and other school employees in the #RedforED movement say they're ready to walk off their jobs, if it comes to that. Now, Douglas is saying it better not come to that.
"I think walking out on strike is premature," said Douglas. "It is breaking trust between students and the families they serve."
When asked when is the right time to strike, Douglas said, "We have to see how things work through."
Douglas says teachers and school staff are public employees who work for the citizens, and they have a duty to keep working. She said she supports a raise for teachers, but was hazy on exactly how that will happen. She said in any event, teachers should be patient and work with the governor and legislators.
Douglas also said teachers who do choose to walk out on Thursday could get fired.
"I think possibly, there could be actions filed against their certification, and it will be up to this board to see what actions they take, but if parent or citizen files complaint, it will be fully investigated," said Douglas.
When asked if teachers could get fired for going on strike, Douglas said, "perhaps".
While there is no law in Arizona against a walkout, there is some language in a 1972 case, decided on other grounds, that suggest public school teachers can't go on strike.