Velma- Alma still in session despite walkout

VELMA, OK (KSWO)- Despite the statewide teacher walkout this week, Velma- Alma Public Schools decided to keep their doors open and still hold classes.

"We needed to support the teacher cause, but we also needed to support our kids," said Becky Saville, teacher. "So, it made it a really hard decision to make. It was not made lightly."

"It's going to be the voice for Velma whether it's five or forty," said Joanne Romine, teacher. "And if we can go ahead and carry out our business at the same time I feel like we can do both."

Despite school being open, Saville was one of five supporters that went to the capitol on Monday.

In nearly 40-years of teaching Saville said her experience was one she's gone through before.

"I was a teacher at Hilton during the 1990 walkout and I can remember it and it was very scary, just like this one is very scary," said Saville. "A lot of emotions running high in both directions."

Saville said this time she got the chance to speak with teachers from other schools about their concerns about lack of resources and supplies for students.

"We talked to a lot of schools that did not have the textbooks," she said. "Textbooks they are using are falling apart they didn't have textbooks. They didn't even have chairs and desks."

However, Romine said at Velma- Alma that's something she's not familiar with.

"Anything I've ever needed, I've asked for and if I truly needed it I got it," she said. "No questions asked."

Romine said she supports the walkout but not at the expense of compromising students education.

"I have seniors that I sponsor and I want them to have all the normal stuff that you do the last month as a senior and this disruption they lose some of their memories of their senior year when you have a walkout and you're a gone," said Romine.

As for Saville she sends a message of support to those still at the Capitol.

"I think it's very important for teachers to stand their ground," said Saville. "Like I said teachers have been undervalued and underpaid and have operated with almost nothing for years."

Both Saville and Romine plan to use personal days to head to the Capitol on Friday along with other teachers.

Velma- Alma will continue to be in school Thursday. They are closed on Friday for a discretionary day that was previously decided for the school year.

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