Teacher goes on strike due to lack of heat

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On a windy, winter day in East Memphis you would think students would be sheltered from the elements inside. But in one teacher's classroom, that's not the case.

"It's freezing. It was like this before winter break," senior Lindsey Twelvetrees said.

She's talking about her classroom at White Station High School, where the students said they haven't had heat all year.

It got so bad, her teacher wrote on Facebook that she brought an electric blanket, extra socks and gloves to teach until she got sick and went home.

After winter break, she thought it would be fixed.

Her students said it wasn't.

"This has been going on a long time. I think it's about time they fix it," student Kelsey Brown said.

In a Facebook post, the teachers wrote she's now on strike and is using all 58.5 of her sick days until it's fixed.

"If I show up not feeling well, they won't get my best," the post read. "Until teachers start to realize this and start getting made and demanding change about it, we will continue to be treated like second-class professionals."

"I feel like it's a good idea, because she's had to deal with this for many winters," Brown said. "Most people are sick at school because of how cold it always is in the classrooms."

What's more, White Station students said the heat is at two different extremes: not working in some parts and boiling in others.

"Going from her room that's 50-something to the next class at 84 degrees is not good," Twelvetrees said.

Meanwhile, the students said they're still doing work and following their syllabus while their teacher is at home.

They currently have a substitute teacher and they're doing the best they can in the conditions.

Shelby County School officials released the following statement to WREG:

“Our buildings are monitored throughout the day by our plant managers who report any emergency issues to the HVAC team.

"As with many of our other aging buildings, there have been some problems at White Station High, but those issues have been addressed.

"That being said, today, one room on the 3rd floor and one room on the 2nd floor had temperatures of about 67 degrees, which is below the setting of 70 degrees. Crews are responding to remedy the 3-degree variance in those classrooms.”

District officials did not respond to questions about issues in the classrooms since the beginning of the year, including December.