Seattle students back in class after teachers suspend strike

Education

(NewsNation) — Seattle students were back in school Wednesday after the teachers’ union and school district came to a tentative contract agreement, bringing an end to a five-day strike.

Seattle Public Schools announced Tuesday night that it had reached a deal with the Seattle Education Association on a three-year contract. The five days that students missed will need to be made up at the end of the school year.

Thousands of Seattle educators began picketing last week near the city’s public schools over issues including pay, mental health services and more support for multilingual and special education students.

The strike began Sept. 7, which was supposed to be the first day for approximately 49,000 students in the district. While 95% of voting union members approved the strike, just 57% voted in favor of Tuesday’s resolution to suspend it, the union said.

It was the first time since 2015 the district has gone on strike.

Labor union lawyer Sanni Lemonidis, who has three children in Seattle public schools, said on “NewsNation Prime” last weekend that the delay in the beginning of classes had her doing “a lot more” child care, but that as a labor union lawyer, she supported the strike.

“I fully support our teachers and I really think it’s important they’re out there,” Lemonidis said. “They’re the last line of defense for our kids, fighting to ensure there aren’t these cuts to special ed programs, that definitely affects me. I am fully supportive but I really hope the district gets on board and gives the teachers what they really need.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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