Judge to Kent teachers: Class starts Monday or face fines | Read the ruling
By LAURA PIERCE
Kent Reporter Contributor
September 10, 2009 · Updated 5:40 PM
Striking Kent teachers must be back in their classrooms teaching by Monday, or they and their union will be facing serious fines.
King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas delivered the ruling this afternoon in her courtroom at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center. The meeting, which started 1 p.m., was a compliance hearing for the ruling Darvas made a week ago, declaring illegal the strike by the Kent teachers and their union, the Kent Education Association.
In today's decision, Darvas said that if striking teachers did not return to hold classes by Monday, the union would be fined $1,500 per day, and the teachers each $200 per day, for each day they remain on strike, retroactive to Darvas' original Sept. 8 ruling.
At Thursday's hearing, Darvas didn't mince words.
Defying the original court order was "not an appropriate way to meet the goals or demonstrate respect for the system," Darvas said, noting the law is "absolutely clear" and that strikers were "clearly in violation" of the law and their contract.
"Frankly it's a poor example to set for the young people who are looking to their teachers," she said.
Following the meeting, KEA President Lisa Brackin Johnson said it was up to individual teachers as to what they should do next, although the union would be sharing the information from today's ruling with its membershp.
"That is their decision," she said, noting the $200/day fine could be a hardship for some teachers' families.
Bracken Johnson also characterized the school district as "drunk with their own power."
As to the rightness of continuing the strike after last week's order calling it illegal, Bracken Johnson noted that sometimes standing for something is the important thing.
"Sometimes when there's something that is wrong, sometimes you have to take a stand," she said.
Read the ruling:firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-872-6600 ext. 5050.