PPS students rally to support teachers, explore new activities as strike continues
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Bargaining between teachers and Portland Public Schools administrators continued all day Wednesday, 11 days into the historic teacher’s strike.
Meanwhile, students and parents have been left to find other ways to fill their time.
At Oaks Park, many parents and students have been taking to the roller rink, as the park decided to extend their free skate time by two hours during the day since the strike began.
Managers told FOX 12 that this has resulted in up to 50 extra tickets sold each day.
Eighth-grader Wren Harmon said a group of friends decided to hit the rink together.
“If you have a bunch of pent-up energy that you normally spend at school, then you’re like running around the house, and this is a fun way to get it out,” he said.
Natalie Hewitt took her two children and their cousins, also PPS students, to the rink after she said they had exhausted most of their indoor activity options.
“It’s just a fun activity, lets kids exercise, and it’s something different than just walking around outside or hiking around,” she said.
For other students like high school senior Calliope Ruskin, getting out of the house looks different. They joined a student rally outside PPS headquarters on Wednesday to stand in solidarity with the teachers.
“I’ve been waking up at 7 every morning and picketing with my teachers,” Ruskin said. “I’ve been writing speeches and delivering them, I’ve been going to events like this.”
However they choose to spend their time, some students are feeling the impacts of being at home for so long.
“It’s definitely negatively impacted my mental health,” said 10th grader Evangeline Martin-Weber. “I’ve really missed being in the classroom, I enjoy school a lot and that rhythm has thrown me off a lot. It’s kind of like I’m in the pandemic and I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
Despite those impacts, some parents and students who spoke to FOX 12 with said they were willing to hold out a little longer.
“I think that this is really valuable education to me, and while it may be taking away from class time, I think that it’s worth it,” Ruskin said.
“I would love for my kids to be in school, as would everybody, but if it takes awhile it takes awhile,” Hewitt said.
Students will once again be out of the classroom Thursday as an agreement has not yet been reached.
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