January 31, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Detroit, MI – A state judge on Jan. 25 denied the Detroit Public Schools’ request for an injunction intended to stop sickouts by the city’s teachers, saying that she had seen no proof that they had been organized by any of the 28 groups and individuals targeted.
The school system sought a temporary restraining order against 28 individuals and groups, including the Detroit Federation of Teachers, interim president Ivy Bailey, and ousted president Steve Conn, after a sickout closed all but nine of its schools on Jan. 21. DFT lawyer Marshall Widick, who is also representing most of the teachers in the case, argued that the lawsuit “raises the specter of First Amendment retaliation” against teachers protesting low salaries, overcrowding, and dire conditions in the city’s schools. “This didn't just happen overnight. There have been problems for a long time,” said Joann Jackson of Detroit, who, along with two of her grandchildren, was among about 100 people outside the courthouse marching in solidarity with the teachers. Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Cynthia Stephens scheduled a hearing for Feb. 16. Read more