Big Issues

Students Deserve More

Students Deserve More.

That’s the message that North Carolina teachers tried to present to Governor Pat McCrory at the end of their 20 mile march to his office on June 14th and 15th. After a decade of budget cuts and a general lack of resources, the teachers and parents have had enough.

The Governor said he had a “previous engagement” and refused to meet with the group. The rally led to the eventual arrests of 14 individuals.

I won’t pretend that I can accurately convey just how important this issue is. So instead, I compiled an anthology of the essays written by teachers who were arrested and a parent or two.

Below are stories and pictures (reprinted with permission) of individuals who just want to be heard. Click to read their story.

Students Deserve More- Anca Stefan 1

Anca Stefan

“We don’t have textbooks in history class. My students can only receive medical care if they get injured Tuesday morning between 9 and 12 because we have a part time nurse.”

-Anca Stefan, Language Arts/History/Journalism Teacher

Read Anca’s story.

“THIS HAPPENED Y’ALL: Joe’s kindergarten teacher was handcuffed, loaded into a van, and taken to jail. Because we were too busy/distracted to vote in the mid-term elections.” 

-Grace Carnes, Mother of a kindergartner

Read Grace’s story.


Grace Carnes

Jessica Benton

Jessica Benton

“I had committed myself to protecting kids when I became a teacher 11 years ago. I had sworn an oath. And if this is what it was going to take to show people just how dire our situation is in our public schools, I had to do it.” 

-Jessica Benton, Special Education Teacher

Read Jessica’s story.

“My son needs to see that teachers, parents and his mom care so much for his future that we WILL carry his burdens so that he/they won’t have to.” 

-Dawn Wilson, Mother/Instructional Assistant for Durham Public Schools/Former Police Officer

Read Dawn’s story.


Dawn Wilson

Alyssa Putt

Alyssa Putt

“I did not cry from shame or self pity. I did not cry because I had become something I have tried my entire life to avoid. I cried because I chose to be put into handcuffs at 26, while some of my students have already been in handcuffs by 15.” 

-Alyssa Putt, Language Arts Teacher

Read Alyssa’s story.

“I used to look at the daily mug shot reports in the online versions of the local paper, but I had to stop because seeing my [students] photos every day became less grounding and sobering and more depressing and angering.” 

-Bryan Proffitt, President of the Durham Association of Educators

Read Bryan’s story.

Bryan Proffitt

Bryan Proffitt

Dr. Amy Swain

Dr. Amy Swain

“There are three dictionaries in my classroom. I have 32 English IV textbooks for 120 students.  If I want a classroom set of novels for students, I am told to set up a fundraising website and ask the public for money – the same public whose tax dollars are withheld from public schools.” 

-Dr. Amy Swain, high school English teacher

Read Amy’s story.

“Because what we discovered when we arrived at the capitol with our plan for raising per pupil expenditure and expanding Medicaid was that McCrory did not care enough about us or our students to even greet us. But we also discovered that you, the public at large, did care. You met us with food and shelter at resting spots during our march. You asked us questions and wished us luck.” 

-Lisa McCool-Grime, High School Math Teacher

Read Lisa’s story.


Kristin Beller

Kristin Beller

“Yes, I had a choice. I always have a choice, but when it comes to my kids…I will choose them every time. I don’t want my students to have to fight this hard for their education – for their lives…We have a duty to fight. We have a duty to win. 

-Kristin Beller, elementary school teacher

Read Kristin’s story.

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