Parent concern over impacts of possible teacher strike in Minneapolis & St. Paul schools, results of vote expected late Thursday

Sixteen-year-old Ramiyah Jackson is a junior at Minneapolis North High School in Minneapolis.

She says this year has been tough.

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“When I think about it I think about our mental health and it’s like down to the ground right now,” she said.

Jackson said for students in her school a COVID-19 health pandemic, coupled with the unknowns of a potential teacher strike is crippling.

“It’s a lot of things that we have to worry about, we’re scared and it’s like, what are we going to do,” she said.

Teachers in both Minneapolis Public Schools and St. Paul Public Schools are voting Thursday on whether or not they will authorize a strike.

RELATED: St. Paul, Minneapolis teacher unions vote on striking; results expected Thursday night

If yes votes prevail, as expected, a strike could be underway in just 10 days.

“Fear, that’s really where it is right now, everyone is scared, scared of the unknown,” said Kelly Jackson, Ramiyah’s mom and President of the PTA.

Jackson says she’s frustrated families haven’t heard more about potential plans from the district if there is a strike.
“Why do we have to wait until the last minute and why do we always have to be reactive, not proactive,” Jackson said.

She questions where students will get food if there’s a strike.

But even more important, in the wake of Minneapolis North High School student Deshaun Hill’s death, there are real concerns about safety.

“One thing we don’t want, we don’t want them to be idle if they have too much time that’s when they go to the streets, that’s when they’re doing things they shouldn’t be doing,” she said.

RELATED: Community continues to honor 15-year-old shooting victim Deshaun Hill Jr.

While Jackson supports the teachers and their efforts, she does worry about the students and says the adults need to look out for them.

“We’re asking our students to hold all this up while still trying to be a kid, it’s not going to happen, so as adults we need to be the ones to step up and take charge and take care of them and wrap our arms around them and say we got you,” she said.

The teacher unions in both Minneapolis and St. Paul plan to release the results of their strike authorization votes Thursday night.

Minneapolis Public Schools says it will make a statement after that is public.