LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Two teachers were placed in handcuffs and escorted out of a school board meeting in Clark County, Nevada, on Thursday.
The Clark County School District and Clark County Education Association (CCEA) are engaged in tough negotiations over a new contract for teachers. According to CCEA, nearly 5,000 teachers showed up to rally ahead of the board of trustees meeting.
The meeting began on time but was disrupted when dozens of teachers began shouting and chanting, asking for better pay and calling for the ouster of the superintendent.
Officers from the Clark County School District Police Department placed two teachers in handcuffs. Police removed another man from the board meeting without handcuffs.
School board President Evelyn Garcia-Morales tried to temper things down and restore order to the meeting on Thursday.
“We cannot conduct business,” Garcia-Morales said. “CCEA is clearly interrupting the business of our organization. It is very clear that CCEA has intentions to ensure that we do not conduct this meeting.”
The previous school board meeting on August 10 was recessed without any agenda of the items being discussed due to similar disruptions.
Contract negotiations began in March, and shortly after CCEA began running television ads criticizing Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara’s leadership and seeking his removal.
“If we’re in the business of providing instruction, then we need to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to retain our educators, and to recruit educators here,” CCEA President Marie Niesess said.
One elementary school teacher said the offer CCEA is proposing is transformative.
“Right now, teachers aren’t making it,” Marijo Burroughs, a teacher at Barber Elementary School, said. “You’re going to school, but you’re not able to pay your rent. And so we’re just asking for the wages that were due to make rent.”
Nevada lawmakers made a historic investment into public education this past legislative session. CCEA is hoping to use that money for teacher salaries, asking for a 10% increase in the first year and 8% in the second year.
CCSD has countered, offering in its latest proposal, 8.5% the first year and 2% the following year.
After the arrests, a few teachers walked out and the board meeting continued.
CCSD released the following statement regarding Thursday’s meeting:
Throughout every negotiation session, the Clark County School District continues to advocate at the bargaining table for increasing pay and benefits for deserving teachers and correcting the old salary schedule with a new equitable schedule.
Negotiations with the CCEA will only be resolved at the bargaining table, not by disrupting the business operations of the school district. As stated at Thursday’s board meeting, violating the law by disrupting a public meeting results in consequences. CCSD is charged with educating Clark County’s children, and those who seek to disrupt the District’s business operations will not deter us from fulfilling our mission.
Once the most unruly agitators were removed from the meeting, the Board of Trustees was able to continue the meeting and complete their business.