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story.lead_photo.caption FILE — Little Rock School District headquarters are shown in this 2019 file photo. ( Gavin Lesnick)

Little Rock Superintendent Mike Poore on Thursday sent a letter to district employees reminding them that teachers who went on a one-day strike last week won't be paid for the day and those who called in sick and then picketed face disciplinary action.

Poore said the letter went to all employees "to keep them in the loop" and that letters to the "no call, no show" employees will be delivered over the next couple of days.

Investigations are continuing to determine whether employees who called in sick actually participated in the strike, he said. Those employees face disciplinary actions that could include termination.

[RELATED: Superintendent pitches slower change at Little Rock schools » arkansasonline.com/news/2019/nov/22/poore-pitches-slower-change-at-lr-schoo/]

Sarah Dixon, a teacher who attended the district's Community Advisory Board meeting Thursday night, made reference to Poore's letter, saying that teachers have the support of their students and their parents.

"Today's threat to teachers from the state ... through the mouthpiece of Mr. Poore did not scare me and it did not scare other teachers that I know," Dixon said. "We know that what we are doing is working hard for students in the school district every single day. We love our students. We love our profession."

She said 13,000 students stayed home on the strike day because they knew that their teachers were advocating for them.

"Quit trying to silence us with threats," she said.

[GRADE POINT ARKANSAS: Sign up for the Democrat-Gazette's new education newsletter » arkansasonline.com/emails/gpa]

The one-day strike on Nov. 14 was called by members of the Little Rock Education Association employees union. The strike was meant to be a call to the state to return local control to a district that has been under state authority and without an elected school board since January 2015.

On the day of the strike, the district reported that 491 teachers called in sick and another 116 were no shows -- a total of 607, or about one-third of the teaching staff.

State and district leaders did not close Little Rock's more than 40 schools on the day of the strike. Instead, teacher absences that day were covered by district administrators and state Education Department staff members, as well as traditional substitute teachers.

On Thursday, the superintendent in his letter referred to a previous letter and videos that warned of lost pay and possible disciplinary action.

"I hope everyone has understood that we will follow policy on these matters," Poore wrote. "Consistency of approach is important. Equally important is that when we have school, our students are in class learning."

Metro on 11/22/2019

Print Headline: Little Rock teachers told of strike penalties

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